Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve read, learned about and wrote about a number of community initiatives that have helped local residents, neighbourhoods, hospital staff and other frontline workers during this time. But, with the good actions often come bad actions by others, in this case the people who are still not following the distancing rules designed to limit the spread of this virus. Twice, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen news of groups of people protesting the provincial COVID-19 related shutdowns and restrictions at Queen’s Park. From the videos I’ve seen online, these groups are very obviously not following physical distancing guidelines. While I understand the right to protest, these people, famously referred to by Ontario Premier Doug Ford as ‘a bunch of yahoos’, are being totally reckless, risking both their health and everyone else’s in Ontario, as they could also become virus carriers. Why people like this, who openly and blatantly violate safety regulations, are not fined is beyond me. But government protesters are not the only ones flouting these restrictions and not following common sense. Right in Scugog recently, groups of motorcyclists have been seen congregating in the parking lot of a restaurant. At a recent council meeting, Scugog officials mentioned, police and bylaw officers, on several occasions, have had to remind people visiting Palmer Park not to be in groups of more than five people, and have had to move people along who were stationary. Although effective, the township shouldn’t have had to put up caution tape on park benches for people to realize they are a potential surface the virus could latch onto, and spread from. Simply put, people shouldn’t be using them right now. I remember, before provincial and municipal officials closed recreation facilities, as early pandemic restrictions were starting to be put in place, Uxbridge Mayor Dave Barton had to strongly remind residents not to group up at the skate park/pump track in Uxbridge, and to keep the required six-foot distance. My message to everyone, from residents to visitors is, the quicker all people practice physical distancing, the sooner life in Ontario can return to at least a somewhat normal and relatively safe condition.
We can all get through this together if we do what health officials tell us to do and be patient. Lastly, just to remind people, just because some restrictions are slowly being lifted by the province this doesn’t mean this pandemic is over. We all still need to follow physical distancing and health related common-sense-measures to keep ourselves, and those around us, healthy.