Balance is needed now

January 28, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

They began badly and they have been tripping over themselves ever since. Last year – and this makes me so angry – last year, when Patricia and I came home from Cuba on March 12, 2020 to a packed airport in Toronto, hundreds of people: men, women and children too and no one – not one of them nor airport staff either were wearing masks. 

Patricia and I were the only ones in all that crowd, wearing masks and gloves – everyone touching all those machines that read your passport, breathing all over each other, standing inches from each other… 

In that same week, I was in an office, talking about this and someone said, “Well, the authorities say you don’t need to wear a mask – they don’t do any good.” 

A respiratory infection, COVID-19 is a respiratory infection: obviously, masks will help prevent the infection of one to others – but it took this government until May to make masks mandatory – in March, no problem; in May, a shop will be fined if its customers are not wearing masks. The sheer stupidity of it is criminal. Every step along the way for this Ontario government is yet another stumble. 

Now is another perfect example of how outrageously bad the matter is being attended to still. Terror of the example to the south must surely be part of the problem, those horrifying numbers caused by a leader who told the population that Covid is nothing to worry about – just the flu – no big deal – live your lives and the numbers will go away by themselves. 

Disaster and we are crazy with wanting to avoid that same scene. Here in Ontario, we have our morons, telling people not to wear masks, getting together in large numbers, promoting the idea that the whole thing is a lie told us by those who will profit by it and repress the rest of us. 

Once a government, an authority makes a clear statement that is erroneous and then, correct it later on, chances are the mistake will stick with lots of people. I still hear people who are not necessarily campaigning on the matter, they are still saying masks don’t matter. 

When the Ford government made masks mandatory in May, they didn’t take responsibility for their mistake in the matter in March and they should have been clear about that: “Yes, in March, we were not talking about masks; we didn’t understand the need at that time – our health people hadn’t done enough research–” whatever! “we were wrong in March but we now see how it must be in May.” 

Since then, it has been a zig-zag of knee jerks, driving teachers, students and parents mad with frustration at an administration with no clarity about how to continue, with only the whisper and the prayer that a vaccine will come in sufficient numbers, that will be reasonably effective and not too onerous with side effects. 

Overseas in the U.K., Boris Johnson says he’s sorry for the 100,00 Covid deaths, that the responsibility is his for all that bereavement. He’s sorry? Is that like “I love you” from someone who is abusive one moment and sorry the next? 

This knee jerk zig or zag is the relentless closing of every shop. Covid is much less of a danger in a one person shop where two people only are in there at a time, wearing masks, being careful, hands washed coming in and going out. That is a lot safer than the grocery store I was in recently where the numbers were clearly not being controlled and people were bumping into each other, careless and rushing. If shops can be open, any shop should be allowed to be open because the “essential service” aspect is a joke. 

I understand the hand-on services being curtailed; maybe it is more of a risk than needed to have a manicure or a haircut but to cut the small businesses that need to be open and will be responsible, is a punishment that is too hard. 

Already, the main streets of small and large towns are seeing too many “business closed” signs, businesses that couldn’t survive being closed for so many months: not every shop can reasonably survive online. We love our attractive downtown in Orangeville but, unless the unreasonable restrains of orders that allow large, box stores to stay open but crush the privately owned, small business, the beautiful and very much needed shops, as essential as others that are open – unless that lets go the restraints, we are going to have a flood of “business closed” signs. 

Then, developers will be smacking their lips as they eye our heritage town centre, ruined by this over-kill. 

Covid is spread by the careless crowds boasting their rights not to wear masks, not by a small business selling less obvious essentials. 

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