‘Let’s absolutely jam-pack the Granaries to Isle of MTV levels the next time 0 cases are reported!’

The Skinny • No. 37 | Floriana FC vs Social Distancing

What are we skinning? The Floriana FC supporters who took to the Granaries to celebrate their club’s Premier League win last Monday. 

Why are we skinning them? Their spontaneous gathering blatantly disregarded social distancing measures, and the police’s slow reaction only exacerbated matters – and subsequent outrage – further. 

So you’re saying football fans are to be deprived of all joy during COVID-19? Are you doing your ‘devil’s advocate’ schtick again? 

Maybe. Well, stop it. 

No. Okay. 

No, really, though: I’ve seen the outrage, and that’s pretty much all there is. I mean fair enough, but the supporters aren’t really getting their voices heard in all of this. They blasted their voice loud and clear, and some of it was even amplified through speakers on Monday – another potential contravention, by the way – so I don’t think their lack of ‘representation’ is the issue here.

Fine, but I still think there’s a lack of nuance at play. You’re often good at sifting through that, so I’m surprised about your hardline stance here. Hardline stance?! If anything, we should be asking questions about why the police were so slow to react, especially given that the Floriana HQ is literally two minutes away.

It’s not that easy to break up a spontaneous demonstration of riled-up football fans, though, maybe it was an under-resourcing issue. We are dealing with a national health and safety emergency here, so one would expect all stops to be pulled. And it’s not like the police are above calling in for military reinforcements whenever the need arises (see: any ‘raid’ in migrant community hubs like Marsa and Hal Far).

Can I get a shot at ye olde ‘nuance’ thing? Sigh. Go ahead. 

Okay, so what if this could serve as a teachable moment about how the ‘new normal’ will continue to unfold? How do you mean? 

Apart from the ‘mixed messages’ issue, this might not be the first time we see such active flouting of social distancing rules. That’s encouraging... 

Yes, it’s deeply concerning. But it’s to be expected. It’s a telling example of how people will behave when, first, they are barred from going about their usual habits due to an invisible enemy who keeps shifting the goalposts of the threat, and second, when political expediency that seeks to safeguard an optimistic feel-good factor clashes with unambiguous scientific evidence. Yes, that’s a very astute observation. 

The supporters still deserve a firm bitchslap though. Metaphorically speaking. Of course. 

Do say: “While it’s only human to acknowledge the enthusiastic urge of Floriana supporters to take to the streets to celebrate a historic win, their blatant disregard of health warnings during a pandemic is not just evidence of a moral failure on their part. The slowness of the authorities to react and the mixed messaging from the political hegemony have surely contributed to this spontaneous – though not entirely unexpected – mess.”

Don’t say: “Loving this precedent! Let’s absolutely jam-pack the Granaries to Isle of MTV levels the next time 0 cases are reported!”

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