So, what do we do now?
That’s the question being asked in thousands of homes in Surrey and White Rock. Day-to-day life has shrunk to a few essential activities – work (for those who still have jobs to go to, or are doing from home), family time, meals and rest. There is no shortage of entertainment available on TV screens or other devices, and there’s no problem getting outside. Even there, social distancing needs to be kept in mind.
On that note, last week was a glorious time to be outside. White Rock’s pier, for example, was packed with people. Unfortunately, many seemed to forget about the importance of not being close to others.
Most businesses are still open, but for many of them, customers are few and far between. Stores selling groceries and essential supplies continue to be packed with customers, and the wisest among them are limiting sales of items like toilet paper, sanitizers and disinfectants. Some are also opening at certain times for seniors and people with disabilities only – a good step. There are no shortages, just panic buying.
Schools are closed for spring break, but it is not very likely that they will be open when spring break ends. Child care is still available, but not for all. University students are finishing courses online.
One wonders just what would be happening without the advances of technology over the past 20 years. Would people be able to keep up with work and university courses, and what would people do for entertainment and diversions?
Surrey wisely closed recreation centres, pools and ice rinks. There is no use spreading COVID-19 at a recreation facility. While some restaurants are open for take-out or drive-through, bars are closed.
Perhaps the most drastic step is the closing of the border to all but essential traffic – mainly transport trucks. This step has never been taken before on this scale, although the border was briefly closed on and after 9-11.
Most people are being as understanding as possible. The risks are great when out in public. Staying at home is the safest thing to do. But even there, people must be very careful not to ease up their vigilance. Elderly people and those with significant health issues are at great risk if they are infected with this virus. Sanitizing and distancing are still very important – even in our homes.
One of the good things that has come out of this is a level of co-operation among politicians of different parties at the provincial and federal level. It would be nice to see this on other issues, after this particular issue has run its course.
Another positive is the lack of agitation by protesters and activists on other issues that, while still important, do not rate a mention at a time like this.
Health officials, led by Dr. Bonnie Henry, are doing everything they can to help all of us to get through this unprecedented crisis. Let’s do our part.
Frank Bucholtz writes weekly for Peace Arch News, as well as at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca – email firstname.lastname@example.org