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KNOX – Don’t give in to temptation; stay home and stay the course

IT WOULD BE DUMB, at this point, to jump out of the lifeboat and start swimming back to the Titanic.

That is, we in B.C. have done an admirable job of following instructions, hunkering in our bunkers and avoiding each other like, well, the plague.

So it would be a shame if, having been rewarded with hints that our efforts are working, we blew it all by giving into temptation and slacking off — dinner with friends, say, or a quick trip away — during what promises to be a seductively sunny Easter break.

Hence Health Minister Adrian Dix’s admonition to “bend the curve, not the rules this weekend.”

Hence a Salt Spring business group’s launch of a Stay Home Stay Safe campaign aimed at discouraging outsiders from visiting what is normally a tourism-dependent island.

Hence B.C. Ferries’ warning that “even though the Easter long weekend is approaching, this is not a time for leisure travel.”

Hence Wednesday’s decision to shut down all provincial parks until further notice.

Hence Royal Roads University’s new move to pare public access. It’s just the latest addition to a long list of popular destinations to do so in the name of social- distancing.

There is reason to worry. Remember three weekends ago when everyone in Victoria, drawn by the first rays of spring, tried to crowd into the great outdoors at the same time?

The parking lots at south Island parks were crammed like Costco’s. We all glared at one another, as though it was the other guy who didn’t belong. (Like the bumper sticker says: “You are not stuck in traffic. You ARE traffic.”)

The mob scenes prompted authorities to rush to close playgrounds, soccer fields, the road through Esquimalt Lagoon — anywhere people gather to enjoy themselves.

The prospects of similar scenes this weekend, with well-intentioned COVID carriers hopping in the car, enjoying a quick getaway and spreading germs like Easter eggs, prompted a flurry of activity.

On Wednesday, B.C. Parks, which had already closed its campgrounds, announced it’s giving up on the idea of keeping its trails and other areas open. It did so in part to discourage travel by day-trippers and tourists, and in part because of the difficulty in keeping people apart.

“We tried to provide safe space for people to get some exercise and fresh air in our beautiful parks,” Environment Minister George Heyman said, “but it has proven too challenging to maintain safe distance between visitors.”

Similarly, Royal Roads University cited physical distancing in announcing new measures that are in keeping with those taken at other national historic sites: No visitor vehicle access or visitor parking anywhere on campus, and no public access to Hatley Castle or its formal gardens. “Walking and cycling on the grounds are permitted — but not encouraged — in the interest of physical distancing.”

The ambiguity of that last bit raises an interesting question: Are we supposed to be getting outdoor exercise or not? And if all the popular paths, parks and trails are closed, where are people supposed to walk, run or cycle without getting too close to others doing the same thing?

Dr. Bonnie Henry has given her blessing to outdoor exercise, and has made it clear that she’s more worried about the transmission of COVID-19 indoors than she is about the prospect of someone being infected by a passing runner or rider outside, where, she has said, viruses don’t spread as easily. At the same time, she has been consistent in telling us to stay at least two metres away from one another.

And no, Dr. Bonnie’s blessing doesn’t mean you and your friends and family members should arrange to all meet up for a tromp through some distant woods this long weekend.

And it certainly doesn’t mean you should all get together for a celebratory dinner, or swan off to a family cabin, or — even though this is such a meaningful time on so many religious calendars — gather with others of the congregation. They’re all lovely things to do, but not when Aunt Ethel shows up with COVID-19 as her plus-one.

“We need to stay home this weekend,” Henry said Wednesday. “This is not the time to take unnecessary travel.”

In the thick of the fight, on the right path, it would make no sense to let our guards down now.

“It is no time for us to let up at all.”

jknox@timescolonist.com

About Mel Rothenburger (7710 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on KNOX – Don’t give in to temptation; stay home and stay the course

  1. Tony Brumell // April 13, 2020 at 2:37 PM // Reply

    This is an article from Vernon.
    This excerp from Kelowna news varifies my earlier post.
    With politicians and health officials telling us to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic, what if home isn’t a safe place to be?
    More than one in three women have reported experiencing intimate partner violence, with more than 6,000 women and children in Canada seeking shelter and support services every night.
    The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society has partnered with the Kelowna Women’s Shelter to bring awareness to this issue.
    The ‘Safe Spaces’ campaign seeks to bring awareness to the critical domestic violence issues that survivors have experienced and are currently experiencing in the community.
    While domestic violence and abuse is prevalent year round, crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic have shown to results in an increase of violent incidents and creation of more barriers for those wanting to access services and support.
    “There will most definitely be an increase in the severity and quantity of abusive and violent incidents due to COVID-19. It is almost like a hidden silent worldwide pandemic on top of another worldwide pandemic,” says executive director of the Kelowna’s Women Shelter Allison McLauchlan.
    The executive director of the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society Michelle Novakowski also agrees. “Our staff are worried about women who don’t have access to technology, to reach out for help — where an ex has destroyed a cellphone, or people who can’t afford a phone or a computer,” she says.
    Both charities remain available for people seeking help during these times. They are also asking the community for donations to support their continued work.
    The Kelowna Women’s Shelter provides shelter services, essential supplies, counselling services, safety planning and outreach support for women and their children as they flee from domestic abuse. The 24/7 helpline is available at 250-763-1040.
    The Elizabeth Fry Society is providing virtual victim assistance, crisis response, safety planning and trauma therapy for adult and youth survivors who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. The team is available at 250-763-4613.
    Comments
    It seems to give validity to my argument.

  2. Ian M MacKenzie // April 12, 2020 at 4:30 PM // Reply

    Tony – Doc Henry may make some mistakes or what are perceived as contradictions in this tragic time, but she’s pretty definite about the most important tactic, stay home and keep your distance. Unfortunately viruses don’t time their savagery to fit the schedule of a strained population. So I’ll follow Henry’s basic tactics which will be far more effective under the circumstances than the infinite number of wrongful tactics that an out of control “strained” population might dream up to release the pressure they might feel. How the hell did England manage so well through the blitz? The determination of Churchill’s rhetoric demanding (not just counselling) discipline, helping others, and grit. Let’s try copying that winning formula.

  3. Tony Brumell // April 12, 2020 at 10:33 AM // Reply

    This self isolation thing is going to backfire, I fear. If a family of five sends Dad to work each day and he comes home a few days later and unknowingly brings the flu with him it becomes a certainty that the entire family will also contract it.Like the prisons who are exploding and say they can’t control it.When does a home become a prison ?When you are forced to stay in it for abnormal periods of time.
    The incidents of suicide,domestic abuse, the increased use of alchohol and drugs will aid a “Second Bump ” of CV numbers.Our Env ministry has closed all the parks and rec sites Thereby precluding the fishing in those lakes which means folk are breaking laws or staying home and murdering their kids or wives. This must change
    It seems strange to me that people who can live out in the bush for extended lengths of time are not allowed to do so . This of course forces them to stay at home where the chance of exposure may be 1000 times greater..
    I also believe that the closure of the forest rec sites was rash and unfortunate. It was done before people understood the need and rational for social distancing.I am sure that has now changed and people should be able to camp (and maintain social distancing ) for their own mental and emotional well being. By closing the rec sites the ministry is also closing most of the lakes to fishers and thusley restricting peoples need to get away for a length of time,and reduce the intolerable pressures being forced on them by circumstance and rash ,unthinking actions by local gov’t.

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