YESTERDAY, THE B.C. GOVERNMENT released its four-step plan for getting back to normal. A grid of 24 blue and yellow squares outlining the steps we need to go through on our path back to normal. It’s as if getting out of COVID-19 is an elaborate game of Snakes and Ladders.
We can get all the way to Step 4, with low COVID-19 case counts and low hospitalization rates, but if one or the other go up, we’ll get knocked back a level or two. We’ll be sliding down the snakes and starting at the beginning of the game again.
On the plus side, as of today, BC Centre for Disease Control website reported over 2.9 million people in B.C. have been vaccinated, putting us well over the 60 per cemnt minimum and heading towards the 70 per cent required for return to normal.
Once we climb up the ladder of vaccinations, no snake can take that away from us.
Out of all the squares on the board, the one I’m most looking forward to getting to is Step 4 “Normal Social Contact”.
I did have a few questions about the plan for things not on the game board.
First, there is no square on the B.C. return to normal game board for international travel. Will it ever be possible? Will going on a cruise be possible either? It seems we will have to wait a bit longer for a trip to Hawaii or Europe.
Second, at Step 3, masks are recommended, and at Step 4, masks are personal choice. Can businesses or institutions such as universities still require them? Will we all still be carrying around a mask just in case they are required? It looks like we will all be keeping spare masks around for a while.
Third, as someone who comes from a large family, have they thought out what Step 3 square “return to usual on indoor and outdoor personal gatherings” means. In my family, that means up to 50 people or more. How large can a personal gathering be and still be allowed?
One entire section missing in the B.C. government’s plan for getting back to normal is for those living in congregant facilities like extended care homes. When can people’s relatives be able to freely come and go from a care home to visit their relatives.? When can residents of extended homes be able to share meals with their loved ones. These squares still need to be defined.
The biggest question is whether things that have been shut down for months and months be coming back at all. Will the nightclubs reopen? Will the music festivals restart? Will volunteer run events like Ribfest or Hot Nites in the City resurface?
It will be two entire summers that night clubs, music festivals, adult sports and many other events haven’t been able to operate. When we’ve climbed the ladder to Step 4, will the nightclubs, festivals and sporting groups even have the resources to restart again?
Our dice have been cast. Whether we like it or not, we’re on the COVID-19 game board. Let’s keep climbing those ladders and get to the highest squares. And watch out for snakes.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.