Here we are, week 32 of the pandemic, and I am still confused as heck with the messaging coming out of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, The Ontario Government and the Canadian Government.
From the get go, we’ve been receiving ever changing information, and I understand that. This is a novel virus, so the information is bound to change as we navigate these uncharted territories. For example, at first, masks were not recommended. Now, as scientific evidence undeniably shows their benefits, they are mandatory. I have no issue with that.
Where I do have an issue is the conflicting information that we are bombarded with that seems to be in direct oppositions to other guidance given. Case in point: the latest guidance from the EOHU on Thanksgiving and Halloween.
How many of you know that the province has walked back the “bubbles”. On the website, the EOHU stipulates: “As of October 2, 2020, you should limit close contact to people living in your own household and keep two metres physical distance from everyone else. If you live alone, you can consider having close contact with one other household you trust. You must keep 2 metres from people outside of your household.”
For thanksgiving, the EOHU released guidance that was in line with this October 2nd directive. It hurt, but we complied. But then, In a press release sent October 16th about Halloween guidance, they “strongly advised” against Trick or Treating. They offered alternatives, but then proceeded to give tips on staying safe while handing out candy and/or Trick or Treating. If you are recommending against, why give the option? It’s like seeing a stop sign that says STOP but GO!
Should you Trick or Treat? I guess the answer lies in the following questions. Do you trust that people won’t mingle with other households? Can you be sure that hands will be sanitized, masks properly worn, social distance maintained?
For me, when I know we have people in our community who are firm believers that the whole mask mandate is nothing but a Machiavellian tool the government is using to control the masses, and those same people choose to travel to various red zones in Quebec and Ontario to protest said mandates, it’s hard to feel safe. I do my part to stay safe, but I can’t do their part.
I go out and see people using masks improperly all the time. For the record, people, your nose is attached to your mouth and your mask should go over both.
I also know of people, even in my own entourage, who do not self-isolate or quarantine when they are specifically told to. I’ve seen this from people who are awaiting a Covid Test result or who have returned from a trip to the US.
In my opinion, that’s partly because the messaging is not strong enough. The way things get said come across more like suggestions than anything else. It shouldn’t. It should be clear, concise and leave no room for ambiguity. And it should be repeated over and over again. Especially because it is ever changing.
Covid-19 is not an illness, it’s a disease, and a disease we know very little about. As Nick Seebruch of the Seaway News recently said in an opinion piece, “If you are tired of the pandemic, if you want things to go back to normal, then do your part.”
If we forego traditional Halloween, maybe, just maybe we can have a Christmas that somewhat resembles normal. Isn’t that worth the sacrifice?