Bumps in the Road to Reopening

Been thinking a lot about Covid these days, my friends. About the ongoing need for various coping skills these last few months. In Ottawa we are now in stage three of re-opening. And there have been lots of bumps in the road in our journey from lock-down to reopening. From everyone staying at home to hopefully a return to some sort of normalcy. Total lock-down was hard. But oddly enough reopening is hard too, just in different ways.

Stage three of reopening here means that bars and restaurants are now open for indoor eating and drinking, with controlled capacity and social distancing. And since we also have a “mask required” policy for all indoor public places, I’m not sure how that’s going to work safely. And frankly, I’m not ready to go there, myself. I know that some of my friends are ready, and that’s their call.

Hubby and I are still being very cautious. Our take is that just because we can go to restaurants and bars, doesn’t mean that we should. Like not wearing my beautiful Laura Ashley dress with the puffed sleeves that still fit me at forty, but which definitely made me look like mutton dressed as lamb. Just because I could wear it, didn’t mean that I should. So I didn’t. Ha.

No, Hubby and I will be staying out of restaurants and bars for now. We don’t want to mess up our plans to hightail it down to New Brunswick as soon as the border opens up to the Maritimes for the rest of Canada. We haven’t even joined our household with anyone else’s to form a “bubble.” We’re waiting for Mum to be in our bubble.

Biking on the Osgoode Trail in Ontario.
Biking yesterday with the one guy in my bubble.

It seems that we’re slowly flattening the curve in Ontario. Hence the movement to reopening. And oddly enough it feels to me as if the reopening stages are difficult in ways that total lock-down wasn’t. More ambiguous in the language used to describe the “rules”, more misunderstood by some, more easily flouted by others. And more likely to cause misunderstanding between those who interpret guidelines one way and those another. Or those who are ready to loosen up the reins and those who aren’t there yet.

When we resume certain activities it’s so easy to be lulled into forgetting that we’re not back to normal. So hard to be vigilant all the time.

Golf courses opened, with certain constraints, in stage two. And Hubby golfs now with a group of friends every Friday. They maintain social distancing rules, drive separately, don’t take carts together, and are always outside. But sometimes, he says, when they’re walking down the fairway chatting, they forget and drift close to each other. It’s hard to be vigilant all the time. I walk with a friend once a week. We try to social distance, but when we pass other walkers on the trail, we’re closer than we should be. Because it’s hard to be vigilant all the time.

Some of us are more ready than others to embrace activities allowed by reopening. My walking buddy and I have not invited the rest of the usual walkers to join us because we don’t think it would be possible to be safe with three or four or five of us. Maybe we’re being hyper-vigilant, but our comfort level is not something about which we should feel any need to apologize. Still, sometimes I feel as if I should apologize. Or explain. Justify.

On Saturday afternoon I had several members of my book club over for a socially distanced meeting, outside, at our house. We have a big backyard. There’s shade and a breeze off the river. And we were craving some face to face time that didn’t involve a screen. We planned to meet after lunch, and I did not provide a meal as is our usual habit. Instead of a meal, I loaded up the camping cooler with ice, small bottles of water and soft drinks. As well as some individually wrapped ice cream treats. I arranged the deck chairs to allow for six feet between them. And Hubby asked that anyone entering the house wear a mask.

The weather in Ottawa has been beastly hot. And we had a bit of an e-mail exchange between members the night before about the possibility of moving the meeting to a restaurant with air-conditioning, since restaurants had very recently opened for dining inside. But a couple of us were not comfortable doing that. And my friend Sue said, don’t forget if we go to a restaurant, or even a patio, we’ll be seated as a group. Socially distanced from other tables, but not from each other. So we were back to plan A at my house.

To be honest, I felt churlish for the constraints I put on our “hospitality.” I badly wanted to apologize and say, “Oh, to hell with the rules. Let’s just sit in our air-conditioned living room.” And maybe if we had, nothing would have happened. But maybe it would. So I said nothing and we went ahead as planned. Not all of us attended. But we had a lovely afternoon on the deck anyway. A great book discussion. And the ice cream sandwiches and the Fudgsicles went over a treat.

As I mentioned above, we now have a mandatory mask policy for all indoor public spaces. Hubby and I were very happy about that call by our government. So much easier when we have a firm rule as opposed to an “advisory.” Hubby and I have been wearing masks to shop for months. I’ve just ordered some cloth masks on-line. I’ve been wearing the disposable ones that my sister gave to me a couple of months ago. I think that we’ll be wearing these things for a while yet. Wearing a mask is a no-brainer, really. As one doctor said in an interview recently when asked if mask wearing by everyone would stop the spread, “Well, it IS a respiratory illness. So, yes.”

The whole mask wearing controversy is inexplicable to me. Even a couple of weeks ago when we shopped for a new clothes dryer, lots of people in the stores were NOT wearing masks. In fact, as we lined up to get into one appliance store, our masks in place, the two men in front of us, turned, nudged each other, and smirked. Pfftt. Smirks from middle-aged teenagers? That’s a very minor bump in the road, in my view.

So, lots of small bumps in the road to reopening for us. Decisions to be made about what we do and don’t do and how. Awkward moments to be navigated. Like my friend who, when she said she would take her own car instead of driving with her sister and partner, was asked by the sister’s partner: “What, are you afraid you’ll catch something?” Different takes on the same situation are not always easy, and sometimes, it seems, deliberately misunderstood.

But we’re trying to remember to be vigilant, to not feel silly for being careful, to not look askance at others who have made different decisions. Small bumps. While in other places in the world, the bumps in the road to reopening are not just bumps. More like major potholes, chasms even, to stretch that metaphor. Entire reopening plans have been scuttled by non-compliance. Cases of covid surging. I have friends who live in these places, and I can imagine the fear and the frustration that, at this late date, things are not improving.

And if the reports I read on Twitter the other day are true, if the pictures of people crowding into the bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market area can be believed, we may be moving backwards to stage two ourselves in a couple of weeks. But hopefully not returning to total lock-down.

Single early morning kayaaker on the Rideau River, near Manotick.
Early morning kayaker on the river.

You know what? I’ve decided that I am going to stop using the term “lock-down” to describe the stay-at-home situation we’ve been in for the past months. To me, lock-down implies what happens in schools when there is a significant danger to students and staff, and everyone inside “shelters in place” until the authorities say it’s safe again. When I was still teaching we practiced lock-down procedures regularly. Like fire-drills. We all knew that such procedures might one day save lives.

But some people seem to view lock-down, or indeed any form of mandated behaviour to keep us safe, as draconian. Instead of “lock-down” maybe I’ll just say something like “staying at home”. Trying to flatten the curve. To exercise social responsibility. Trying to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and people we don’t know and have never met but with whom we may come into contact. I think we should find a name that puts a positive spin on “lock-down.” Maybe we could call it a hygge mandate?

And maybe mask-wearing can be viewed as a means to improve our enunciation. I know I’m using my teacher voice now when I’m in stores. Nobody can hear my regular voice behind my mask. Reminds me of when I was a kid, and I always spoke softly. I was what they called on an episode of Seinfeld, “a low talker.” And when my grandfather Sullivan would phone, he’d boom into the receiver in his big, deep voice, “Stop talking way down in the cellar, girl.”

Seriously though, Hubby and I recognize that we’ve been really lucky during this whole pandemic. Lucky that family and friends are well. Lucky to have each other and be where we are. And now even some of the things I missed from “the before time” (as I wrote about in a recent post) have come back. I can get my hair cut, walk with a friend, Hubby can golf. I’m even meeting with a couple of friends tonight for a socially distanced drink in one friend’s back yard. Hugs (aside from Hubby-hugs) are still verboten, though. But it’s all good. We’re trying to maintain vigilance and have a bit more of a life before the fall sets in.

How are you doing, my friends? Where are you as far as reopening (or re-closing) goes? And how are you coping? Let’s get it all out there. We’re listening.


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52 thoughts on “Bumps in the Road to Reopening”

  1. This past weekend, the number of newly diagnosed Covid cases in San Antonio, each day, has surpassed NYC’s highest day!!! I haven’t been anywhere and I don’t plan to go except for curbside pickup at Barnes & Noble bookstore and I left the book in the trunk of my car for three days before I brought it in and wiped it down. Even my friends who say they are very careful and have a safe bubble have not been safe and several in their families have gotten Covid. A friend’s granddaughter got Covid at camp last month but didn’t have any symptoms so my friends went to visit. They wanted me to join them there, but I said no. Now the grandfather has full blown Covid. What did they think was going to happen? I am dumbfounded by their logic. You and your household are the only ones you can be sure of who are playing it safe. Friends and family may not have symptoms but that doesn’t mean they can’t pass it on to you. I would not have come to your backyard gathering.

    1. That’s terrible, Brenda. I’ve been reading about the surges in certain states. So scary… and frustrating for those of you who have been trying to keep safe. Trust me, if we had a surge of cases here in Ontario, I would not have been hosting my book club, even if we were socially distanced. Hope things turn around soon for you guys.

  2. Thank you, thank you, Sue, for such a thoughtful post. I live in Southern California. We did so many things right at first, only to be undone by people who got careless and selfish as soon as the mandates were lifted. Now cases are surging, and I’m so concerned for our nurse neighbors and others who must go to work every day. I just don’t understand the anti-mask mentality. It’s the least we can do for everyone’s health and to get things back to normal. By the way, with two sons and a husband who are sports fans, the lock-down term I use is “safe at home” or “home-safe.” We’ve gotten up to bat and gotten a hit (prepared well), rounded the bases, and now we get to be safe at home for awhile. Sanctuary in place. I realize that not everyone has a good place to shelter, and my heart goes out to them. For those of us who do, can’t we just make this basic effort to help everyone?

    I love your posts! Best wishes!

    1. We have a couple of nurses in the family. One is on maternity leave, thank goodness. The other is a surgical nurse and has been reassigned to processing patients at an assessment centre. Having said that, our hospitals here have not been overwhelmed, so that is good.

  3. I was nodding and agreeing with everything you have written here as I read through. In so many ways the lockdown was easier. When it was introduced here in UK there was a sense of relief that we’d could all stay at home and stay safe. Many of the people I know (we are all introverts!) could have carried on longer! It was a very stress free life. The easing of restrictions so much harder just as you are experiencing. Vagaries and ambiguities abound. And the people who just assume that it’s all over?! And the rebelling about masks? Really?! I too find it hard to navigate the path of doing what I am comfortable with, whilst trying to avoid any causing of offence when it differs from friends ideas of what is ok. I worry I may seem preachy, or paranoid or unreasonable. But also happier being a rule follower given what’s at stake. Great post again.

    1. I am not only a rule-follower… and I also became used to encouraging others to follow the rules. After thirty years in the classroom … it’s hard to keep my mouth shut at times. 🙂

  4. Yes…everything you wrote resonates with me. All of it. I was driving my 88 yo mom home yesterday to northern Michigan and saw a highway sign: Travel to Canada prohibited. Essential travel only. So sad. We have grandchildren living in Toronto that we haven’t seen in months, and who knows when the borders will open? I can’t blame any country for cutting off the US…we have been ridiculously bad in our handling of this crisis. But I will commend our governor (that woman from Michigan). She is a force of nature and I wouldn’t have her backbone in the face of the backlash. That said, she has tamped down the curve and, although there are more cases in the past week, she didn’t hesitate to institute a mask requirement.

    As another aside, I have a new granddaughter in the UK that is now eight weeks old, and I don’t know when I will be permitted to fly over to see her. So grateful for FaceTime and pics/videos. But it’s not like being able to hold her. Waaah. But, like you, I am pretty hesitant to do anything aggressive – haven’t eaten out in ages, don’t gather indoors with groups, etc, etc. Is it tiring and depressing? Sure. Am I willing to die to eat out? Nope.

  5. I do so agree with you. I have no desire to venture out other than for essential errands. I fear we are opening up way too soon and will suffer the consequences dearly. Our playgrounds are now open. I see children and parents there with no masks. Surely a breeding ground????? We are coping OK for now as we can have friends and neighbours over for get togethers on our patio but that will end once the weather gets cooler. I think that winter is going to be our biggest challenge yet. Make hay while the sun shines!

    1. Winter will be harder than now, that’s for sure. We’re trying to squeeze in as much safe socializing as possible while the weather is nice.

  6. I love “exercising social responsibility “! I may use it to explain my mask wearing. My husband and I have been very careful. Grocery shopping online with curbside pickup, drive up service at Target, or simply avoiding shopping all together. I have spent the last 11 days in the Twin Cities (MN) caring for my 92 year old mom to keep her from an admission to transitional care after a hospital stay. 80% of the Covid deaths in MN have been in nursing homes and senior housing.

    1. The number of deaths in nursing homes in Ontario has been scandalous as well. I am so glad my mum is in her own home and not in a care facility.

  7. Stage Two was a comfy, much more well defined space. Although I loved having my eyebrows tidied up, I would quite willingly go back to stage two for a protracted length of time. I am busy ordering masks (Hello Preloved!) and working on a first ever patchwork quilt for my grandaughter.

  8. I agree with you and all of the comments. I just don’t understand the problem with wearing masks. I live in TN and we are heading in the wrong direction. I am disappointed in our poor response to this virus. I’m afraid that people don’t understand that it is impossible to predict who will become very sick very quickly. I wish you and your husband good health.

  9. “…our comfort level is not something about which we should feel any need to apologize.”

    Well said, Suz! Here in BC, we’ve also had a worrying upward movement in cases over the weekend so hubby and I are voluntarily moving back to our comfort level of Stage 2. He’s ten years older than I am and, since I’d dearly love to have him around for a few more years, we’ve accepted the idea that anything which takes us away from our home, or puts us near other people, needs to be considered thoughtfully and cautiously for the foreseeable future.

    I’ll admit, though, that I’m another one who is baffled by the resistance to wearing a mask in public places. It seems to me such a small thing to do to keep others safe. But, as a former teacher, I’m also remembering that lecturing and scolding intransigent students never resulted in much change. I’m also mortified when I recall how making a quick judgement all too often left me apologetic once I’d found out a bit more about the student and the situation.

    So these days I’m constantly reminding myself to follow our Dr. Henry’s admonishments to remain calm and be kind during this crisis. Most of us are trying to cope as best as we can with a new and challenging reality. It’s hard to know why a small percentage make the choices they do, but, then, how much do we know about each other’s circumstances? All I can do is make the best choices I can for me and my husband, as well as show my gratitude for the supportive choices made by others.

    1. I think what surprises me is the number of people who have not availed themselves of the information that is out there. Maybe it’s easier to just do what you want if you can claim ignorance?

  10. I agree about the difficulties of coming out of lockdown carefully & liken it to dieting . Not so hard to decide to cut down but very tricky when you do reach your goal to establish the ‘ new normal ‘ . Easy to undo all the good work . The bulk of our food is delivered now & I wish I’d started that years ago , so convenient . We’ve managed dental & hair appointments recently & have been impressed by the precautions taken but visiting pubs or restaurants seems a step too far . Our government is offering lots of financial incentives encouraging us to do so ( for the sake of the economy ) but it reminds us of the Jaws film “ everyone back in the water “ . So no thanks . We’ve walked in the Dales with my sisters a few times – at a little distance . That was a treat . Our compulsory masks indoors begin next Saturday but we’re already doing that . The attractive washable masks I sent for are quite hot so I only wear them for quick visits to small local food shops . Anything longer & the disposable masks seem to allow me to breath better . I’d rather not wear one but we have to be adult about this . If our emergency services can cope with wearing them for the hours they do then we can handle short spells . It’s my new pleasure – removing my mask & taking a deep breath .

    1. “Everyone back in the water”… that is a wonderful analogy, Wendy. Cue the creepy Jaws theme song. I don’t mind wearing a mask much, but then again I’ve only worn the disposable ones. We’ll see how I feel when I get my cloth masks.

  11. It resonates with me completely,Sue
    We are re-opened,had a couple of covid free weeks (I’ve been to the hairdresser and got pedicure,not to the dentist though-all with masks and gloves even than-because I suspected that the virus was “a sleeper”,it was for sure,especially with the situation in the neighbourhood),but after opening of the night clubs and wedding ceremonies (and they are huuuge!)- here we have it again.
    You know how I love theatre,concerts,having coffee or dinner with friends….but all of these are postponed for better times. I’ve adjusted to it. I wear masks and gloves out of the house- not in open air without people- they are compulsory now and I’m happy with it. I do only necessary things. A lot of my friends socialize as before-it is their choice,not mine. A lot of people find my attitude superflous-I don’t care,it works for me
    I have a friend or two for coffee at my home,at the balcony or at the distance in the house. I might also go for the coffee at the open terace caffe,but not now.
    It is as it is-we have to take care for each other,not only for us,but also for other people around us

    1. We’ve been thinking of you, Dottoressa. Wondering how you are faring. I did hear that Croatia was one country that people from the EU could travel to without having to isolate for fourteen days. I am wondering how your mum is in all of this too. Mine is anxiously waiting for a visit from one of her daughters, but since we all live out of province, that probably won’t happen for a while. New Brunswick has closed its provincial borders to other provinces except the other eastern provinces which have had really low levels of infection like themselves. Ontario has the second highest infection rate in Canada, so we can’t go to NB without isolating for 14 days, and that really isn’t doable for us.

  12. Loud and clear. I am nonplussed by the anti-mask rage and selfish refusals to either a. take responsibility for their own health or b. give a monkey’s about anybody else. It’s not actually hard to wear a mask – I wore one nearly all day yesterday, no problems – and, let us be frank, a lot easier than having an oxygen mask clamped to your face as you struggle to breathe in intensive care where there will be no option of removal. A friend of mine is reluctant but, instead of arguing, I am simply going to say: ok, but I will just wear mine, you do what you want. Yesterday I visited both York and Leeds (briefly, the latter) and was very glad indeed to wear a mask because quite a lot of people were being very lackadaisical about distancing or really being aware of other people. After a while I simply forgot I had one on. Shopping was too tricky to be enjoyable – arrows, instructions, other people – and no desire whatsoever to go and sit at a lonely table for a coffee. Leeds was particularly unobservant, it struck me but our trains were very good. There was a droll conductor on my return train who said: welcome aboard this train. Just three things to remember – you are on a train to Liverpool, sit only in a seat with a green label and wear a mask. I don’t care if you are sitting with your wife of three hours or thirty years, sit in the correct seat and wear a mask. Thank you. Like Mary Poppins, he was practically perfect in every way.

    1. I saw a short video this morning in which two RCMP officers had to forcibly remove a man from a coffee shop for refusing to wear a mask and then abusing the staff. Gad. How embarrassing. But I guess if he’s willing to stand and yell at some hapless woman pouring coffee, he must be immune to embarrassment.

  13. We are pretty much open here in Sydney but there are some hot spots and lots of worry about going the way of Melbourne where there’s been a resurgence of cases and lockdown reintroduced. I’m making the most of things in case tougher restrictions return here. Nothing major – just going a little further afield for non-essential errands, making sure I get out of the house most days for a short while and I even went out to dinner last week for the first time since January – just our small family group at a restaurant with lots of space between tables and not many people in a large space. I’m feeling better than I have done for a while in terms of anxiety levels but I’m a bit apprehensive of how I’d go if things regressed here. I’m taking comfort in the apparent progress with vaccine research at Oxford and elsewhere. Take care everyone.

    1. I am planning one safe social activity a week for the foreseeable future. If we have to close down again, I at least want to have had a bit of socializing first.

  14. We have a fantastic governor here in KY, and I only wish we had that mature leadership at the top in our country. We have had an (inevitable in my opinion) increase in cases as we opened up, althought not the level as those further south. We instituted mandatory masks in public places last week, and people are complying, aside from the odd @sshole. My husband watched a man have a total meltdown in a home improvement store that refused to serve him without a mask, cussing out the manager and storming out, then having to RETURN as he’d left his driver’s license – bwahahah! We go out to eat once a week, but only where we can sit outside. We did eat in last week as it was so hot, in a large restaurant that had half its tables removed. But now I’m feeling a bit nervous about that! I work in a graduate school, and we are all worried about a “third wave” if colleges & universities resume in-person classes in the fall.

    1. Fall and what will happen is a big topic of debate here as well… to open schools or not and how? Many of my friends are still teaching and have had no info on what will happen.

  15. Thank you, Sue! It helps to know others’ thought processes. I appreciated reading your words, as well as the comments. Every venture outside the house requires a cost/benefit analysis. We’ve extended our family bubble twice to my cousin–who is unmarried and careful. The benefit was that we got to spend a weekend with him, and we hope we kept him from being too much of a hermit! Still, we all acknowledged that we were also exposing ourselves to each other’s contacts, as limited as they have been. Fortunately the people I WANT to spend time with have the same attitude as I do. HOME is safer. Indoor socializing is out.

  16. Yes, there are bumps, many bumps. Living in the US during this time is hard, so many people are looking at this politically and not caring for others. A friend, from a different state, posted on Facebook asking if we knew anyone testing positive for Covid or anyone who had died from Covid. I wrote no to both, but I was shocked to see how many people she knew, who knew both people testing positive and who had died.
    I live in Nebraska and our cases are rising. We are staying home and only going out for necessities. We are not going out to restaurants, even though they are 100% open. It just does not seem safe to me. Our mayor just mandated masks in all public places, except county buildings (as the governor has mandated that you cannot mandate masks in county buildings – logic there, I think not).
    And, don’t get me started on the plan to reopen schools in a few weeks – the plan is 600 pages long and still doesn’t seem safe to me. Sigh, it is all so complex and confusing. I just wish our country would allow the doctors and scientists lead this and not leaders who seem to know little.
    Personally we are doing okay, although anxiety reigns at times. We have seen friends outside and socially distancing. And, I am very thankful for Zoom and FaceTime. I guess patience is the key for the foreseeable future. ❤️

    1. Ha. The logic in that decision is lost on me as well. I guess partisan political decisions aren’t based on normal logic the rest of us would use? Stay safe, Liz.

  17. In the Chicago area, my husband and I remain under our self-imposed “hygge mandate” (love your term!). Late 60’s; I’m asthmatic; he has heart disease; case numbers are rising. It’s a no brainer. Our first grandchild has arrived, whom we have seen just once, a backyard visit, well over 6 feet between us (infants can’t be masked). What I wouldn’t give to hold that tiny person, whose fleeting newborn days we have already missed. It sounds like a small thing, and in reality, of course it is. But for us, it’s painful, and getting more so. I wish everyone safety through this. Thank you for your wonderful blog, Sue. Feel as though I’ve found a friend in you.

    1. You are most welcome, Linda. I was really thankful for readers of my blog before Covid… and ten times more thankful for you guys now.

  18. Wonderful post. Please God, make the world well. Please world put on your masks, I want/need to hold/hug my grandchildren again. I’ve been making homemade masks since March, I give them to anyone who asks…please wear your mask. This is not political, this is for life itself. And yes, my husband and I have gone out to eat, mask in, mask out…that is mental health for me…not having to always cook for the ‘Beast is essential. Be well.

  19. We too are in the cautious space here in southern California. It’s been frustrating to watch cases skyrocket once again, when we were one of the areas that had done so well. Our behavior didn’t change much once things re-opened – I got a haircut and color – but eating in a restaurant, even outside, seems a bridge too far right now, and a mani/pedi seems insane. Yesterday we met up (distanced and masked) with friends who were buying my husband’s car to do the handoff, and as we drove home, DH commented that he was in no hurry to get home, and I realized he hadn’t been out since my cataract surgery at the end of May! So we’re going to take a drive to Malibu, pick up a take-out seafood lunch (Lobster roll! My Maritimer husband needs his soul food) and park at the beach for a little picnic.

  20. We have adjusted to the restricted life here in Iowa-and have not loosened up since my husband is receiving immunotherapy for bladder cancer.
    BUT WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL?Our grandson will be entering 8th grade.He misses school,orchestra,band,scouts He has studied every morning with Khan Academy classes since schools shut in March.Practices his violin and percussion alone.His parents haven’t decided whether to send him back to school with a mask and plastic desk dividers(but will it close when a classmate gets sick?).Or keep him home – the school will offer online graded work and attendance requirements?
    I’m glad the decision is not mine-so many angles to consider.Cases are rising in our state.Teachers are really apprehensive.

    1. Such a difficult decision about sending kids back to school. Not one I’d want to have to make either, Kathy. Especially when cases are rising still.

  21. I’ve been feeling the same way about this in-between time. I think it was easier before we started the gradual reopening. Things were more black and white then. Like you, hubby and I have remained a bubble of two. Living in a very small rural community that hasn’t had any confirmed cases, we haven’t worn masks to shop locally, but I would be perfectly happy to see Alberta make them mandatory in all public spaces. We have eaten in restaurants, but only when we’ve had to travel to the city for medical and other unavoidable purposes. I’d rather err on the side of caution. My biggest frustration is with those who continue to proclaim that Covid is overrated, a hoax, or a nefarious government plot to take away our rights and freedoms. I don’t know what it’s like in Ontario, but there’s a lot of that kind of thinking out here in redneck Alberta.

    Yet another way that you and I are alike… the quiet voice. I was told by one of my professors in my first year of university that I would never make it as a teacher because I was too soft spoken! Thankfully, my determination (stubbornness?) overrode his opinion and I went on to have a successful teaching career.

    1. I had to learn to lower my voice and use my diaphragm to avoid always straining. Hubby and I joked yesterday that we were having a birthday party for him and inviting our whole bubble. Ha.

  22. We went to an outdoor family wedding last Saturday. My husband is an ER doc here in Baltimore, and he’s been very leery of any group events, especially with his family, which is mostly on the political spectrum opposite of ours. But we were assured there’d be masks and social distancing. We elected to drive the hour and a half up for the ceremony, but NOT stay for the reception, because we figured that masks would become optional as the booze flowed.

    65% of the attendees did not wear masks. Including the bride, the groom, and the 14 people in their wedding party. The minister did, the videographer did, and the photographer did. But the 16 young people standing in front of them did NOT. And their Boomer parents and relatives did NOT. My BIL’s SIL leaned over and spoke right into my 88 year old FIL’s FACE (he was wearing a mask). My husband almost went over and said something but he didn’t want to make a scene.

    We hightailed it out of there as soon as the ceremony was over. Without a word to anyone including the wedding party. My SIL called out, “Thank you for coming,” to us, and I smiled, but my husband kept his head down and we left.

    I am SURE we’re going to hear about this. And I don’t care.

  23. Hello from Melbourne, Aus, masks are now mandatory whenever you leave home, with a few exemptions. We seemed to be doing quite well, but as usual, a few spoil it for the rest. I wish I could see an end in sight, but I’ll make do with the 2 dolphins and a rainbow we saw on our morning beach walk. Little pleasures. Take care out there.

  24. I live in Goa, India and have been back at work with a mask and sanitiser since the last week of May. It’s uncomfortable but I wouldn’t dream of not wearing one given our population density. Distancing of any sort outside your home is difficult. Our numbers are increasing steadily which is scary because the economics mean a shelter in place again isn’t a viable option. Taking it a day at a time and always thankful when I reach home and can take off the mask 🙂 I would not go anywhere near anyone not masked because as I understand it only avoids you spreading droplets to others, doesn’t really protect you if someone else isn’t masked! Hoping we all get through this safely.

  25. I totally agree with you Sue. I live in Ohio which initially was doing very well but not so much lately. I have been really working hard to stay safe. Mostly staying home, only doing occasional take out; one hair cut only no color or blow out to keep the appointment shorter; one eye appointment and mammogram – each event involving a lot of consideration. I am a rule follower but married a rule breaker and I often have to fight to keep him in line. He doesn’t work to know the risks and doesn’t seem to think it could happen to him and he is in a high risk group. What bothers me the most is that he doesn’t seem to understand that his decisions impact both of us. One day at a time.

  26. We live in Essex county, cases are spiking here, 50% in our migrant farm workers. The government is sending in more help for testing, it’s hard for them to social distance when they reside in bunkhouses. The ones that test positive are set up in quarantine hotel rooms. It will be some time before we make stage 3. We are mostly staying home, hubby complained last night about missing a grandsons birthday. I haven’t gone for a hair cut yet nor do I care. I do miss going to garden centers but have spent more time just walking around admiring my own garden. I did do a closet cleanse acouple of months ago and really don’t need any thing new! Not sure I will ever feel comfortable eating in a restaurant until a vaccine is available

    1. We’ve been hearing about the migrant workers on CBC. Awful for your area to be seeing an increase in cases. Awful for these workers to be ill so far from home. Terrible situation all round.

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