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As the cities continue to implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, rural and regional Australians are being urged to immediately follow suit with simple hygiene and social distancing tactics.
One local bushie, Noel Carmody, is way ahead of the curve in his efforts to flatten the curve.
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As supermarkets across the Channel Country and as far north as The Isa are selling out of the essentials, the prominent Bedourie cattle grazier is making a special effort to keep a clear four metres around him at all times.
Noel says after seeing all the hoohaa going on outside the old medical centre in town, even he can tell the number of people seeking coronavirus testing is growing by the day as fears hit regional Australia – and he doesn’t wanna be one of them.
That’s why today he’s skipping the Betoota Bitter and ordering straight from the bottom cooler shelf.
“Can’t be too careful” he says, while sporting a black eye that doesn’t really suit his sensible demeanour.
“Look, the eye is nothing.” he says.
“A lot of people don’t take too kindly to how strict I am in maintaining my personal space in these uncertain times. But I couldn’t give a rats”
“If it’s between telling some young ringer whose creeping up near me at the bar to garngit fucked, or catching this bloody bat flu. You better believe I’m going with the option that keeps me upright”
However, Noel says he’s also had to acknowledge that his wife isn’t too fond of her 60-something husband punching-on every time they go to the pub – so he’s had to go and look for less confrontational ways to maintain government protocol to being out in public during a pandemic.
Noel has found that ordering a crisp glass of white is the easiest way to implement social-distancing measures in a packed Lord Kidman Hotel of a Saturday afternoon.
“Keeps ’em right out my orbit, mate”
“Obviously the wife and I get funny looks sitting in the beer garden with a bottle of pinot chilled in bucket of ice, but you’d rather that then the Pangolin Kiss. Anyone would”
“In fact, when the footy finishes up in town and the first graders arrive in the front bar for their presentations – I like to throw a few ice cubes in the glass to really push ’em back”
While Noel says the lack of conversation that comes with ordering a glass of grigio really undermines being in the pub in the first place – it’s more about the atmosphere for him and his misso.
“We still get to hear the live music and wave to the old codgers in the TAB. It’s just like a normal day at the pub, just without any of these carriers coughing into my drink”
“No one seems to have a real problem with it, they just keep their distance. Which is what I’m aiming for”
“I think everyone’s just happy I just not drinking rum to be honest”