SEE: Stu Berry's open letter regarding outdoor gatherings during COVID-19

Are gatherings during COVID-19 as bad as we think? Stu Berry shares his opinion

Following the cancellation of multiple events in the entertainment industry, well-known rugby referee Stuart Berry has spoken out.

Open letter
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We have all seen how fast the Ballito Rage and the Plett Rage events were cancelled following positive COVID-19 cases from people attending the event. 

In this open letter, rugby referee and event business owner, Stuart Berry, shares a different perspective to how the world has approached outdoor events. 

The letter reads as follows: 

Firstly, I am not a COVID denialist.  It is real, I have lost 2 good friends to COVID, and it is likely (I hope nothing will surpass this) to be the biggest point in history during my lifetime.  My business has suffered significantly, but I am still grateful for the fact that I am not instead having to deal with being called up to fight a war, which my previous generation had to deal with. I am also vaccinated.  I vaccinated at the first opportunity because it allowed me to do most of what I derive an income from as an immediate solution, and I also vaccinated because the 7 Doctors who I know personally all took the vaccine, and that’s good enough for me. In our lives we trust professionals – accountants, lawyers, plumbers, mechanic’s, electricians and medical professionals.  When my geyser bursts at home, I call my trusty plumber James.  He arrives and fixes it.  I don’t stand here and instruct him how to do it and tell him he is wrong in how he is doing it.  And for the same reason, I know that the 7 Doctors whom I know (who all say emphatically that I should take the vaccine) have studied for some 6-10 years in the medical field and know more than I ever will.  And so I trust them enough to know that I don’t need to question their recommendation. But that is a personal choice. And yes, I can still get infected even though I am vaccinated, but the chance of getting infected is significantly less, my chance of ending up in hospital is even less, and my chance of dying is even less. So to those who say “but why vaccinate if you can still get infected” I would ask “well, why wear a condom if you can still fall pregnant or get an STD”.  I think we all know the answer to the latter, however not the former, and so I am left a touch confused, but alas. It’s also important to note, based on how many people I see asking “when will we get rid of COVID” is that there is no scenario where COVID suddenly disappears and so if there is any way to get back to any normality, it requires us all to recalibrate on our day to day risk profiles.

I’d like to touch on a few items in highlighting what I feel is the greater issue in that we need to desensitize to outdoor events being problematic. The following points highlight the general undertone amongst all those who concerned themselves with needing to be part of the RAGE discussion online.  RAGE is but the example, the events industry and gatherings as a whole is but the subject.  The anger stemmed from what can be summarized below:

  1. The widespread consensus is that RAGE is dangerous and should not take place as it will close down the industry again.This is irresponsible to the economy and to other event organizers who do smaller events with what is perceived to be less risk (you will see later why I refer to the word ‘perceived’ here)
  2. I continually see the argument “but if people are vaccinated, they can still transmit the virus and hence RAGE is not safe.”
  3. It has been questioned as to what the science is around negligible infection rates for outdoor gatherings vs indoor gatherings.

In the rest of the letter, the owner of Impi Concept Events extensively describes using scientific readings and sources for how infections occur. 

His last point in the letter has Berry sharing how people need to de-sensitize to the number of infection rates per day (as infections will never disappear) and consciously begin the journey of moving towards a mental state of defining our risk in relation to death and hospital capacity, as they should be the key references in decision making. 

The rest of the letter is here

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