Northern Pen : 2020-03-25

Opinion : 7 : 7

Opinion

7 SALTWIRE.COM • THE NORTHERN PEN WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020 TRANSPORTA­TION/COVID-19 However, if a captain decides weather conditions or the potential for unsafe travel should warrant it, passengers may be asked to leave their vehicles before leaving the wharf. Crews will also be required to practise social distancing during trips. Because bigger distances between people may be required, it’s possible that fewer cars will be allowed on board the vessel during each trip. Bell Island residents who use the ferry service have been arguing the policy should be changed ever since it was first instituted, citing people who are immuno-compromise­d or have a disability shouldn’t Based on the advice of the province’s chief medical officer, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, those travelling back from outside the country are required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. They can still use the ferry system to get home from the mainland if they need to but are required to be isolated for the duration of the trip. Passengers are told to ask ferry crew about self-isolation protocols before boarding the ship. Meanwhile in St. John’s, Metrobus also released a statement Tuesday saying while the risk of coming into contact with the virus is low, those who travel using the bus will now be asked to have transfers ready to show the driver before disposing of them in the garbage and to make sure to bring exact change. To exercise safe social distancing between riders and drivers, the first seat of the bus will not be available. Buses will also only be available to seated passengers, not standing passengers. Metrobus asks that riders follow recommenda­tions for washing hands, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, as well as avoiding using the bus, if possible, if you are sick. have to exit their vehicles and make their way up to the lounge or deck for the sake of a 20-minute trip. “At the end of the day, these people are forced to travel on the ferry because that’s our highway and getting out of your vehicle if you’re immune-compromise­d at all, in any way, basically adds to your risk. It’s as simple and as complicate­d as that,” Bell Island resident, Teresita McCarthy, told The Telegram Monday. The news release goes on to say that cleaning efforts on the province’s ferry fleet have been heightened, especially in “high-touch surface areas,” like handrails and bathrooms. In a temporary reversal of a controvers­ial policy implemente­d in 2017, the Department of Transporta­tion and Works issued a statement this week saying passengers on provincial ferry’s would now be allowed to stay in their vehicles as a precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19. “Health authoritie­s have urged Canadians to engage in social-distancing in public areas,” the press release read. “Temporaril­y allowing passengers to remain in their vehicles will help prevent further transmissi­on of the virus.” andrew.waterman@thetelegra­m.com @AndrewLWat­erman “I think the risk that we’ve got, or the challenge that we’ve got, dealing with the current pandemic situation, is that we have so many more eyeballs on those messages on an ongoing basis that it’s easier for a piece of disinforma­tion to slip through, and start to gain a lot of eyeballs and a lot of amplificat­ion before somebody is able to step in and say, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, that’s not accurate. Here’s the accurate informatio­n.’” Wetsch recommends getting informatio­n from trusted sources, such as government institutio­ns and media profession­als who have establishe­d trust in the community over the years for being credible. “It’s sort of like, you’re not going to walk outside, ignore all the media that’s on TV and walk outside and ask your neighbour what’s going on, or what should you do. They may be a great friend and a credible source, but you might end up with a few yarns going on, and a little bit of extrapolat­ion, as opposed to going straight to the source, or to trusted media personnel.” If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve likely come across false informatio­n. With so many people concerned about COVID-19, they’re looking online for answers — and sometimes not getting accurate answers. One example is the image of a throat with text that says gargling warm water with salt and vinegar will cure COVID19. Obviously, it’s not true — but people are being duped by this and other messages. Lyle Wetsch, a professor of marketing at Memorial University, has expertise in social media. “The pace at which this event is changing almost on a byminute basis is really sucking us into, what’s the latest update? What’s the latest update? “And as with any situation, when you’ve got a large audience that’s tuning in for something, there’s the opportunit­y for nefarious individual­s, or foreign actors, to be able to try to influence the conversati­on, sort of like we saw back in the previous U.S. election.” Wetsch said it’s important to check out the credibilit­y of messages. “Anybody can be making media is they may see something that their friend shared. And you really have to get to, well, where was the original source of this? You may trust your friend, but did your friend properly vet the source of that informatio­n? And then things start to sort of snowball. comments, or sharing comments. You have to be evaluating the source of that, and not just say because somebody posted a statement of something on social media that it’s true.” Wetsch recommends searching for the origins of a post. For example, on Twitter, he said, nefarious accounts will often have large followings despite only being recently created and not having much informatio­n about themselves. “The main thing is that people have to look to source credibilit­y, and I think one of the challenges with social juanita.mercer@thetelegra­m.com @juanitamer­cer_

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