EDITORIAL: Move at your own pace, but repect others’ concerns

Not everyone is going to feel equally comfortable as province re-opens

Slowly, but surely, we’re getting there, B.C.

The school year is back in session (however briefly), restaurants, previously relegated to take-out and delivery service, are welcoming customers into their dining rooms once again and B.C.’s increasingly shaggy populace is queuing up for an appointment with their favourite hairdresser – or whoever can put them in a chair before mid-July.

But just because you can go now, doesn’t mean you have to.

Some British Columbians have leapt at the chance to slip the bonds of our collective house arrest, bounding out the door like excited puppies.

Others, meanwhile, are channeling their inner house cat and taking a more cautious approach – poking their nose out the door just enough to detect any potential threat before committing to a bigger move.

When it comes to dining out, for example, our (extremely unscientific) web poll would suggest it’s about half and half right now.

Mind you, that’s a poll of how many people have dined out, not how many would necessarily feel comfortable patronizing a restaurant now that B.C. has entered phase two of its re-opening plan.

While businesses are counting on us to return and start spending money again after what has been, to put it mildly, a challenging few months, they have a solemn responsibility to protect people on both sides of the transaction.

Most are taking that duty seriously, and have put strict measures into place to ensure that both their employees and customers are protected from the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

That’s the key. If you don’t feel that a business is taking sufficient precautions to make you feel safe entering and patronizing that establishment, then don’t. And, if it’s appropriate, explain to them politely why you’ve chosen not to stay and spend money.

But it goes both ways.

If a business asks customers to wear a mask as a condition of entering their establishment, then we have an obligation to do so, unless we have a better reason not to than a disinclination to be inconvenienced or told what to do.

How we behave once we’re inside matters, too, whether that’s taking advantage of disinfecting wipes that are offered, maintaining a two-metre distance or limiting the number of objects and items we touch. And, of course, staying home if we feel sick.

We’ve made it this far, but we’re not “there” yet. And it may still be a while until we are.

For now, it’s up to all of us to help one another feel safe navigating this new normal until that day arrives.

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