An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT about the wisdom of cancelling Canada Day, or about the need to not take anything for granted about COVID-19, look south to Kelowna.
Interior Health has issued a warning to anyone who attended certain gatherings in that city’s downtown and waterfront areas between June 25 and July 6 they may have been exposed to the virus. Positive cases have been identified from gatherings at a handful of resorts, restaurants and bars. Of particular concern are Canada Day and holiday weekend events.
Anyone who was at those events is being advised to monitor themselves closely for symptoms of the virus.
It has quickly become apparent that large gatherings continue to be opportunities for COVID-19 to launch new attacks. Bars and restaurants are especially susceptible.
When it comes to restaurants, there continues to be spotty performance on safeguards. In Kamloops, a lot of restaurants take the problem very seriously and do a good job but others, not so much. I ate at one restaurant recently in which hand sanitizers were readily available, all servers wore masks and face shields, patrons were kept well separated and tables and seats were carefully wiped down after each use.
At another one, though, the situation was much different, with none of the servers even wearing masks.
Bars are an even greater challenge. Good times require close interaction and it’s hard to enjoy a few drinks at a distance. Inhibitions are lowered, judgment becomes clouded, as a U.K. study has pointed out.
Several pubs there re-opened a week ago only to close again a few days later after customers or staff started showing positive on tests. This, after the U.K. was starting to make progress against the virus.
We face the same prospect of returning to lockdown if we aren’t careful. The Kelowna situation is a reminder that we don’t want to go there.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.