Parafield, Modbury, Thebarton and Norwood are no longer just Adelaide suburbs but the names of COVID-19 clusters publicised by SA Health.
- COVID-19 clusters have been named after suburbs in Adelaide
- Business owners say the monikers have affected their sales
- A marketing expert says SA Health should move away from the naming scheme
Business owners in the areas say the practice has had a major impact on their foot traffic and they are calling for a rethink.
Norwood Parade, a usually bustling meeting place in Adelaide’s east, has been unusually quiet, according to cafe owner Giuliano Vello.
“This is when we should be buzzing and trying to bank for a rainy day.”
The suburb of Norwood has been the centre of a COVID-19 cluster, following a high school reunion at a local theatre hall earlier this month.
The group of more than 30 cases has since become known as the Norwood cluster despite the reunion being for the beachside Henley High School.
Business owners like Mr Vello say they have felt the effects of being in the Norwood area.
“It’s had a massive impact,” he said.
“We had a lot of bookings cancelled — we had 50 to 60 people last Friday night which cancelled — and of course we were all prepped up for it and all of a sudden you’re wondering what are we going to do with all this food.”
Those thoughts were echoed by business owners like Gagan Singh, whose Indian supermarket was affected last year by a cluster in the Parafield area, in Adelaide’s north.
“Very, very hard those days and we end up losing a lot of money,” he said.
“You know, obviously, we have to pay staff the full wages and even if we don’t have enough sales.”
Call for change in how clusters are named
Andrew Hughes is a marketing expert from the Australian National University.
“The health experts come up with the names; they try and look at a suburb probably as it’s easy to identify with people and it’s probably a quick way to get the message out there as well,” he said.
Dr Hughes said the naming of clusters should be looked into.
The World Health Organization made a similar move, adopting letters of the Greek alphabet to avoid stigmatising different nations.
People visiting the Norwood area agree.
“Yeah, I feel like it’s really disappointing,” one woman said.
“I feel like they should change that because I don’t feel like it’s correct.”
“I think it’s just going to become one giant cluster anyway, so it’s a bit unlucky that it’s happened to Norwood first, I guess,” one man said.
SA Health would not comment on whether it would consider using a different method to identify clusters.
“We understand the impact positive cases have on businesses and will continue working hard to test, trace, isolate and quarantine to help reduce the number of people and businesses impacted by COVID-19 exposure,” a SA Health spokesperson said in a statement.