Global pandemic stops at Queensland border…
So I called the Gold Coast City Council with the season opener three weeks away to the day.
“Name, phone number,” the lady ordered.
I’d got through to some department or other – god, I hate these phone calls, so Kafkaesque –and then she said: something, something, Corona Open.
No, I thought, I mean the Quik Pro, before the devilish, devilish realisation dawned.
The Corona Open could be shitcanned by the CoronaVirus.
Which is why I was calling, of course.
As is the way with these bureaucracies I was glad-handed over to some other department, to get flak-catched by some twenty-something bright-as-a-button journalism graduate now working in Comms for the gubbermint.
One hundred thousand Covid-19 cases worldwide, fifty-nine in Australia, state of emergency declared in California, three thousand Queenslanders ordered to self-isolate, global pandemic imminent according to WHO.
Sporting events around the globe cancelled or postponed including soccer, rugby, boxing, tennis, beach volleyball, hockey, weightlifting, possibly even the Olympics themselves.
That’s right now, as of today.
And there’s our little ol’ Corona Open, looking to pick up all the global marketing brownie points that Quiksilver left under the table after they abandoned their signature event and looking very vulnerable to an uninsurable act of God.
Is there a contingency in place to postpone or cancel?
Calls to the Corona Open number on the website are fielded by polite gals from the WSL, who cannot offer any information but promise a call back from someone who can.
Sophie’s finest hour was staring down Tourism WA and cancelling the Margaret River Pro in 2018 due to sharks; re-shifting it to Ulu’s to be finished straight after Keramas was wrapped a total stroke of genius.
A positive spin on a Corona virus cancellation of the Corona Open would be a wall of positive noise not even Elo could construct.
Queensland Department of Health cannot confirm or deny any contingency in place for large sporting events and public gatherings to be cancelled due to the virus.
Finally, after much phone calling a spokesman is found at the Queensland Tourism Minister’s office.
He scoffed at any possibility of the event being cancelled.
“Queensland is one of the safest places to visit in the world,” he said.
That sounds true enough.
He said they were following the chief health officers advice to the letter and that more events were needed, not less.
“Come on down and have a Corona at the Corona Open!” he said.
“I intend to have several sir, based on that bullish outlook,” I replied.
All this panic buying and loo paper hoarding and scary conspiracy talk is just a hoax, surely?
This is a flu, not even.
I’m very, very bullish.
A best-case scenario could eventuate, that being Queensland schools are closed and the entire grommet population is let loose at Snapper Rocks for a week.
Obviously, if the event is held across the border at D-bah we have a problem.
So, with Queensland Tourism behind the event and holding solid, and as long as no one blinks at the WSL we’re off the races in three weeks, right?
Or is my read all wrong here?
Is this really the end?