Loosening the reins on COVID precautions
Saskatchewan has kept COVID cases low, but we cannot forget about the risks
For months now, the world has existed in a constant state of fear about the COVID-19 virus. In Saskatchewan, the number of cases has remained fairly low throughout the pandemic, but that is no reason for us to excuse ourselves from taking all protective measures for the safety of everyone.
As of August 2, there are 254 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. To many, that number might seem very low, but in reality it is not far from the amount of cases Saskatchewan saw at COVID’s peak. On July 27 there were 306 active cases across the province.
Yet as people begin to see the statistics decrease, they are becoming more comfortable going out in public – some even without a mask.
Businesses and public spaces, too, have begun reopening across the province. The guidelines set in the Government of Saskatchewan’s Re-Opening Plan currently allow for bars, restaurants, fitness centres, and many more public settings to return at full capacity.
The majority of people have been quarantined since April and are therefore enthusiastic to go out and spend time with their family and friends. Unfortunately, many of those people are forgetting that there is still a global pandemic going on around them.
Personally, I believe that the fast reopening of businesses and vast allowance for social gatherings has painted a false picture to the people of Saskatchewan, and has allowed people to falsely believe life is back to a normal, pre-COVID setting – and now, people are acting like that is true.
I have found myself guilty of being lazy with bringing a mask when I go to the grocery store, or eating out too often, because I was so anxious to return to Friday night beers with my friends. But I very quickly had to change my actions, as cases are climbing across Canada right now.
This is because the health and safety of myself and others is more important than going out and having a good time.
My experience since the beginning of the pandemic has been quite chaotic. When it was announced that classes were going completely online, I made the decision to move back to my parents’ house in Southern Manitoba. Within a few weeks, my life had completely shifted; I no longer was surrounded by my friends, school looked different, and my mental health began to suffer.
My parents are very strict about taking all precautions, and for months we did not leave the house. I, as a very extroverted person struggled with this, even though I knew it was the right thing to do.
In June, we began to loosen the reins a little bit, still ensuring we wore masks and exposed ourselves to only a small group of close friends and family.
Then, after weeks of careful consideration, many long conversations, and extensive research my family and I decided we were in a position where we felt safe enough to go into the city (Winnipeg) and do a few things, as well as go to the beach and public swimming pool. I have been very lucky to live in a town of only 700 people, which has allowed a bit of a safety bubble.
Personally, I believe that now while cases are lower, it is okay to go out a little bit and allow yourself some freedom because when the second wave hits the country, we will all need to return to lockdown for months. Quarantine has taken a toll on people’s mental health and it is important to ensure that you allow yourself some time to recuperate, while still social distancing when possible and wearing a mask when in public places.
It is very important that each and every person does what they can to ensure the health and safety of others and hopefully we can all see life go back to “normal” as soon as possible – but it will take everyone working together as a global community.