We are over one month into what has become a seismic shift in our everyday and working lives and I sympathize with our constituents as we go through this pandemic.
Life has changed, for all of us; for businesses, for our families, and for our community. And it’s not over. As a municipality, we follow the lead of our provincial government, and so far a State of Emergency has been set at least until May 12.
There is work we can do, however, and there has to be a plan for the way forward as we continue to battle COVID19 for the long road ahead.
One thing is for sure, social distancing is here to stay, at least for awhile.
But, social distancing doesn’t mean we don’t connect with our loved ones. I’ve spoken to numerous community members who have found new ways to connect with their family and friends.
We should be able to start opening up parts of our daily life that are safe, but in keeping up the fight to keep the COVID19 spread low. We still need to stay home when we can, but here are some ideas for safe social distancing, opening of our economy and community:
- Let’s ask the province to allow us to open the parks, golf courses, and boat launches. Maintain a family or 6 ft distancing protocol, and ensure that we can all get some safe, fresh air (spending time outside can act as a natural medicine to feel better).
- Let’s ask that all businesses that can safely be allowed to open insist and abide by practical social distancing protocols. This includes restaurants, but starting with 50% capacity and two-metre minimum distance between tables.
- We have closed car washes and have allowed large retailers, such as Walmart, to sell items like shoes when other retailers have to remain closed. Let’s use common sense and allow some of those smaller retailers to open with the proper protocols.
- Let’s promote social distancing for small 2-5 gatherings for a coffee or a friendly beer in neighbourhoods so neighbours can connect. This would mean two metres apart while getting healthy social time.
- Buy local. Continue to search out and buy from local businesses. Buy take-out from a local restaurant at least once a week. Shop downtown Belleville http://shop.downtownbelleville.ca
- Let’s create neighbourhood charity zones. Can we help get food to Gleaners Food Bank? Can we use some of the ingenuity that’s been happening to create masks to also lend support to our local charities?
And finally, this is a big week. By the end of April we should know from the province how June and July will look. I think it’s important to be careful but aim on getting the economy back, safely, with social distancing in place but mindful that we as a community cannot be indoors for 2 years.
This is real, this is hard, and this will be a 2-year battle. Let’s make sure we look out for one another.
Stay safe everyone,
Councillor Ryan Williams