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Old 06-05-2003, 02:53 PM   #1
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Normal The Stigma of SARS

Living in Toronto these days is highly depressing. We get deluged with the most depressing news....the world is treating us like we live in a leper colony.

Wildly popular productions like The Lion King and Mamma Mia are closing, one completely, the other for the summer at a time when they would be crammed with tourists.

Ireland decreed that they wouldn't let ANY Canadians come to the Special Olympics....a stance that has softened today, where they just exclude Toronto.

Students can't get any summer jobs in the tourist industry and one group of students who were given a job placement in the States had their placement rescinded because of this, even though they live on the other end of the country. Now they can't graduate without this placement.

The ignorance and hysteria is really ridiculous, even though yesterday The World Health Organization said they had no plans to issue another travel advisory warning people against visiting Toronto. Studies now show that no matter what we do, people still refuse to come and visit.

Not that there's anything you guys can do about it, but I'm just venting. Here's an article that came out yesterday.....

RATS (Reluctant American Tourist Syndrome)

MARTIN KNELMAN

My evidence is anecdotal but alarming.

A travel article in the New York Times advises readers to head for Montreal, because it has all the advantages of being in Canada but is free of SARS.

Screenwriter Arlene Sarner, who flew in for Sunday's invitational premiere of Gail Singer's marvellously enjoyable documentary Watching Movies (which should reach the public next fall), reports there were only 20 passengers on the normally packed flight from L.A.

A colleague e-mails that at a recent L.A. dinner party, Topic A was Toronto's second SARS outbreak. A film executive who had been at the Cannes film festival flew straight to Toronto for his wedding. To his dismay, a large contingent of guests, including his entire New York office, failed to show up for the big day. A publicist at the dinner predicted that this year a lot of Americans will skip the Toronto International Film Festival and go the Telluride Film Festival instead.

At the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake on the Saturday of a U.S. long weekend (Memorial Day), there were few American visitors.

Only a few weeks ago, the challenge was to mount a marketing campaign that would show the world there was no reason not to come to Toronto. At that point, there was reason to believe the 2003 summer tourist season could be salvaged.

Americans just needed to be reassured. Mike Myers made a special appearance on The Tonight Show to spread the word. If only we could stage a mammoth concert to boost Toronto, possibly with the Rolling Stones, surely the problem would be fixed.

Then came the second SARS outbreak and everything changed.

Two weeks ago, the Ontario government was on the verge of launching a major ad campaign in Michigan, New York and Ohio to draw tourists. It was called off when officials realized the ads would be appearing on the same TV channels as news reports of Toronto's latest SARS setback.

David Mirvish had enjoyed huge success selling theatre tickets for May and June through his "Time for a Little T.O." promotional bargain package, including hotel rooms and restaurant meals. He was going to do something similar for July and August targeted at Americans until research indicated resistance to Toronto is so high that bargain prices wouldn't help.

Instead, he announced The Lion King will close on Sept. 28. In truth, even before SARS I, the big Disney musical was showing the symptoms of a disease that afflicts all shows sooner or later Sagging Advance Sales Syndrome (SASS). But with a boost from a normal summer's influx of Americans, it would likely have staggered on until January.

My conclusion: This year the Americans aren't coming, period. It's time to stop kidding ourselves, face the nasty reality, and move to plan B.

The Shaw Festival and Stratford Festival, which derive 40 per cent of their box office revenue from U.S. patrons, are likely to face deficits in the millions and may need bail-out funding.

If SARS isn't eradicated by mid-July, we may have to contemplate a film festival without visiting stars, directors, buyers, sellers and journalists.

All we can do now is figure out how to survive without American visitors in 2003, and who's going to pick up the bill for their no-show. Then we should plan several knockout attractions for the 2004, plus a smart ad campaign, to lure them back.
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Old 06-05-2003, 03:47 PM   #2
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Re: The Stigma of SARS

Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge

The ignorance and hysteria is really ridiculous, even though yesterday The World Health Organization said they had no plans to issue another travel advisory warning people against visiting Toronto. Studies now show that no matter what we do, people still refuse to come and visit.

This whole thing is truly based on hysteria and ignorance. The media has blown this so out of proportion and scared people into thinking SARS is just a sneeze away if they cross the Canadian border.

The odds of actually contracting it outside of a hospital or an area with a known outbreak are pretty low and most of the people who died from SARS were either elderly or had compromised immune systems.

I have no intention of changing my plans to visit Toronto this summer...I will eat in the restaurants, use public transportion and happily spend my American tourist dollars
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Old 06-05-2003, 09:48 PM   #3
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Pictures of Toronto (from the NY Times )




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Old 06-06-2003, 12:36 AM   #4
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BWAAAAHAAAAAHAAAA!!!!


nbc, you are a bad boy!

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Old 06-06-2003, 01:53 PM   #5
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@ the pictures.
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Old 06-06-2003, 02:22 PM   #6
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well it's partially the city of toronto's fault had they just not protested the orginal WHO travel advisory and focused on solving the problem ..for the long term of the summer as opposed to salvaging the early summer tourism industry..they may not be in the spot they are in now.



toronto is a great city..and I want this thing to pass so I can get back to enjoying it driving on the gardner expresway at night is one of my fave things in the world. ..I want to do it soon!!!!
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Old 06-06-2003, 09:51 PM   #7
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Well the thing is it WAS gone...no more cases for a couple of months, even the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta said they did an exceptional job....but then I guess this one undetected case ruined everything. Hopefully they learned their lesson and things will improve.

But seriously, it is baaad. They say the economic impact on Toronto will be billions...worse than post 9-11 NY. Businesses are going to be going belly up like crazy.

Even the Zoo might be closed for 7 months of the year now.

It's all so absurd, because EVERYTHING is the same around the city and NO ONE wears masks. Arun, if I can take the subway every day, YOU can drive across the Gardiner from the safety of your ramshackle car!
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Old 06-06-2003, 11:52 PM   #8
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ahhh but jess...if I took the gardiner..I would HAVE to come visit you


and since you've been riding the subway....can't do that


ramshackle huh????...it's got 150k+ miles....it's gettin retired soon I believe this trip to cleveland willb e last with this car...oh...my dear grand am you served me so well *sniffle*
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Old 06-07-2003, 09:25 PM   #9
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Normal

sad to see this happen. i've been to Toronto before and I will go again. this has been so overblown...i would not be afraid to visit Toronto today if i were able to.
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Old 06-07-2003, 10:23 PM   #10
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Thank you Fly For Freedom! I don't know where you're from, but I wish there were more like you!

Today they had an article saying that none of the waitstaff or people in the hospitality industry can make ends meet anymore...they are down to 40% or less of their business, and with hardly any tips, they are all getting broke.

Meanwhile, Ozzie Osbourne has said that there's no way he's cancelling his gig here, he says he has made a commitment to the fans and he's sticking to it. And, just for fun:

Musicians cancelling T.O. gigs 'wankers,' says Johnny Rotten


John Lydon proved Friday he's still the acid-tongued punk lovingly known by legions of fans as Johnny Rotten when he trained his verbal guns on everything from celebrities afraid of SARS to people who download music from the Internet.

"Who told them not to come?" Lydon asked of all the musicians, including Elton John and the Dixie Chicks, who have recently cancelled gigs in Toronto in the wake of its SARS outbreak.

"I made my own decisions. Hello, I am a free person. I'm not a number. That's why I'm here and those wankers are not."

That characteristically Rotten rant, given during a keynote speech at the North by Northeast music conference, was followed by his thoughts on what role he'd like to play on the big screen.

"It would be Jesus Christ," replied Lydon, who also fronted the band Public Image Ltd. after the Sex Pistols broke up in 1978. "And I'll do the musical too. Jesus Christ, the Canadian version, SuperSARS."
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Old 06-08-2003, 12:27 PM   #11
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Every time we get a celebrity whining over this, it makes my blood boil.

Since I am required to wear the SARS get up when I'm in the ER, I can tell you it's horrible. The masks are uncomfortable. That metal thing that goes over the bridge of your nose hurts and it leaves a deep red imprint. It's about a thousand degrees in the mask, it becomes condensed as you breathe in and out and you feel like you're gasping for oxygen because there is no flow of air. I hate it. The antibacterial stuff for hand washing feels like pure alcohol, and your skin is so dry afterwards. Plus, filling out the forms and questionnaires for everything.

So cry me a river, Elton John.
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Old 06-08-2003, 12:43 PM   #12
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I'm actually at a greater risk for West Nile flu than I am SARS. There have been West Nile cases in Alabama and the thing is more lethal than SARS is. People are just going nuts.
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Old 06-08-2003, 01:30 PM   #13
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We've got West Nile too....it's just been overshadowed by the SARS hysteria. I hear that a few midwest states have monkeypox now!

anitram I read the story in the Star a few weeks ago about what the nurses go through...it's really really awful, I don't know how you stand it!

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Old 06-08-2003, 03:19 PM   #14
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Bono need's to get home and knock a few heads together. This today from the Irish Times news:

The president of the Special Olympics, Mr Timothy P. Shriver, last night described the Government's decision to ask athletes from SARS-affected areas to stay away from the event as a "low point" in the history of the Games, writes Carl O'Brien

Mr Shriver said Ireland had been chosen as the first country to host the Games outside the United States because of its welcoming reputation, but he was "shocked" at the travel restriction imposed by health authorities.

"This low point in our wonder-filled movement only makes us more determined than ever to pursue relentlessly our single-minded mission: changing one attitude and one life at a time to make the world a kinder, more accepting place for those whom we tend to overlook."

The Department of Health's decision this week means 100 athletes from areas such as Taiwan, Toronto, Hong Kong, Beijing and other parts of China will not be able to travel to the Games.

It said any athletes from areas on the World Health Organisation's official list of infected areas should be asked not to travel to the Games.

It has also ruled out travel quarantine measures proposed by a number of countries because WHO officials were not available to monitor the safety measures.

He added that it would be a "tragic irony" if Special Olympics athletes would suffer the indignity of being unable to travel when they were already forced to deal with attitudes of exclusion and rejection.

"It's certainly a sad day for the Special Olympics movement around the world, and I believe it is a sad day for the proud and beautiful country of Ireland," Mr Shriver said.

Officials from Hong Kong are due to meet senior staff from the Department of Health today in a final bid to convince Irish authorities to allow their athletes to travel to the Games.

However, time is rapidly running out and there is little sign of any softening in the stance of the Department of Health. The Hong Kong delegation is proposing isolation measures which would take between 10 and 14 days. However, the Games are due to begin in just over two weeks.

The Hong Kong Special Olympics group yesterday accused the Irish Government of discriminating against its athletes and ignoring proposals to allow them to compete.

The chairman, Mr David Ip, said: "The Irish Government is promoting discrimination against persons with mental handicaps. They do not ban tourists and merchants from travelling to Ireland. Why should the mentally handicapped be rejected?" he asked.
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Old 06-09-2003, 02:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Every time we get a celebrity whining over this, it makes my blood boil.

Since I am required to wear the SARS get up when I'm in the ER, I can tell you it's horrible. The masks are uncomfortable. That metal thing that goes over the bridge of your nose hurts and it leaves a deep red imprint. It's about a thousand degrees in the mask, it becomes condensed as you breathe in and out and you feel like you're gasping for oxygen because there is no flow of air. I hate it. The antibacterial stuff for hand washing feels like pure alcohol, and your skin is so dry afterwards. Plus, filling out the forms and questionnaires for everything.

So cry me a river, Elton John.
i hear you, trust me. what a miserable thing.

SARS, West Nile, and now...Monkeypox! this whole thing would be amusing if it wasn't so damn serious.
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