EDITORIAL: The do’s and don’ts of riding high during COVID-19

Observer editor Adam Louis reminds readers not to get complacent

To tell you all the truth, I didn’t think we’d get this far so soon.

Hello, dear readers; it’s been a while. Here we are, Phase 3. Summer is just starting to get awesome again. Canada Day certainly wasn’t the same as it once was, granted, but the effort to put out a virtual celebration was great. Ferny Coombe Pool is accepting limited swimmers two months after its original scheduled opening date. Harrison’s beaches are open once again and tourists are milling about, mostly at a respectable distance. Perhaps least refreshingly, the usual summer complaints of engine noise and “rowdy” tourists sing through local social media like so many off-key songbirds. Yes, the great outdoors of super, natural British Columbia are, at least in part, ours to enjoy once more.

Will it all stay that way, though?

The floodgates have been opened, and a promising outlook of normalcy washed over thirsty, struggling British Columbians in recent weeks. And it’s okay to celebrate; there’s reason to be happy! Frankly, we’ve all been looking for a reason to get together and party it up until our bodies or our neighbours scream at us to call it a night. While it’s important to find joy once more in the things we’ve taken for granted prior to the worldwide pandemic, it’s equally critical to continue to exercise care.

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I’m about to get a little personal. I’ve struggled with self-inflicted weight problems since my mid-20s, and I’m in my mid-30s as of writing this. A lot has changed in my life and relationship with food in that time, and I’ve lost a bit of weight from my peak not so long ago. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long way to go.

Tackling life with COVID-19 is like losing weight. It’s consistency that allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labour beyond the foreseeable future. Once we start to see results, we allow ourselves that sigh of relief. That rush of endorphins that accompanies positive change is dangerous if not handled properly. If we don’t continue to push ahead with the regimen that’s led us to this better place, we run the risk of falling back into complacency and our comfort zone. We stop pushing. If we stop pushing long enough, we start to slide back. If nothing changes, we’re back at square one. Sometimes we even end up in a worse spot that when it all started. Nobody wants that, but the dangers of riding high can lead down a dark path.

I’m not here to accuse any one in particular of failing to follow the rules. I admit there are days I’ve shaved off a few seconds while washing my hands myself in an effort to maintain halfway-decent looking skin. Okay, maybe there’s a bit of laziness in there, too.

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This serves as a reminder to not only myself but to you as well – don’t get cocky. Do allow for a few more people into your social circle again as long as you remember to keep your distance. Don’t engage in social media shaming; it’s not kind, constructive nor beneficial to those you are interacting with. Do shop locally, but please remember to wear a mask to not so much protect yourself from respiratory droplets and “moist talking” but to protect the people around you.

To anyone within reading distance, I’ll say this: don’t make me feel like I’ve wasted my time. Don’t make all of us who have invested countless hours of time and talent to address the seriousness of the pandemic feel our efforts are in vain. Don’t metaphorically spit in the faces of front-line workers who face this threat to keep you safe. Consistency in fighting this is boring. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It makes us want to give up some days. We’re winning, but to finish the war, we have to push through.

The coronavirus situation in B.C. isn’t perfect, but we’re doing a good job. Let’s keep it going, and as Dr. Henry says, “Be kind, be calm, be safe.”

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