Epidemiologist says orange will make little difference to transmission

Thu, 24 Mar, 2022

“It’s time to start following the science and make the move to Orange, it will make little difference to transmission but the world of difference to hospitality businesses, or better yet - scrap the traffic light system completely,” says ACT’s Small Business spokesperson and bar owner Chris Baillie.

“When asked about a move from Red to Orange, epidemiologist Michael Baker told Newstalk ZB this morning “The only difference is the indoor capacity limit and Orange would have no limit, and really that’s going to have a pretty small impact on transmission of this virus.”

“Bar and restaurant owners are desperate for more clientele. As Hospitality New Zealand said yesterday “Moving the cap to 200 is a waste of time, because people still have to be seated. Why 200? It’s nonsensical.”

“ACT says it’s time to move on from rules that don’t make sense. Jacinda keeps saying she’s following the science. She should listen to Michael Baker.

"As ACT said in our 'Move On' paper last month, event restrictions make no sense in an Omicron world where elimination is no longer the goal:

"Restrictions on large gatherings appear to belong in earlier phases of the pandemic, when overall case numbers were small. In those times, when we were focused on elimination, a “super spreader” event could change whether an outbreak was controlled or uncontrolled. Like many things, Omicron appears to be changing the game. In an environment where a large number of people have the virus, there are more exposure events and a single exposure event will make less difference when there are many."

“While Orange will make ‘little difference’ to transmission it could save some hospo businesses. The industry has been slammed more than most other sectors, it’s time to give them a break and let people get out and enjoy their lives.”