Common sense will get Niagara through crisis
A woman stops at the LCBO store on her way home from work.
It’s been another long day; she’s a hospital worker still in uniform, and while she doesn’t directly treat patients who have COVID-19, the coronavirus has made everyone’s job a little tougher.
Who knows who is standing in front of her, or behind her in the lineup outside the store? You can’t always tell by the way people are dressed.
Maybe a grocery store worker who has encountered a few hundred people at the store during the day. Maybe a family doctor, popping in between patients. Possibly a pharmacy worker who has been dispensing meds all day to sick people.
None of them is accused of possibly carrying coronavirus germs, though. Only the hospital worker. All this happened earlier this month, at an LCBO outlet in St. Catharines.
The security guard, and then the store manager, wouldn’t allow her in because they were afraid she might carry COVID germs into the store. LCBO head office later apologized and offered the woman a $100 gift certificate.
We’re all nervous about COVID-19 and want to protect ourselves and our families. In many ways the virus remains a mystery, only months old. Even doctors say they are learning something new every day.
Sometimes, though, we get scared and lose sight of the common sense that normally gets us through the day.
In this case, the woman wasn’t wearing scrubs; she was in a uniform.
Scrubs worn by medical staff who are caring for patients remain at the hospital. Staff are not permitted to leave hospital property while wearing scrubs.
And if we ban hospital workers — most of whom are better protected in their workplace than anyone else — who else are we going to keep out of our public spaces?
Older people, because they are said to be more vulnerable to the coronavirus? How about delivery drivers who stop at dozens of homes and businesses every day?
Maybe staff from Walmart and Costco — with theatres and arenas closed, those places probably attract more people inside than anywhere else these days.
Of course we’re not doing that. Our fears are understandable, but let’s not lose our sense of logic.
As public health officials have told us, the best protection is still simple:
Cover your coughs and sneezes;
Wash your hands thoroughly and often;
Stay home as much as possible;
And when you do go out, maintain a good six feet between you and everyone else.
It’s the people who defy these guidelines, by going to work when they are sick, congregating in crowds or getting into other people’s space, that are the true risk. Every municipal website has contact information for people to lodge complaints when they see people breaking those rules.
The same common sense applies to public spaces. Remember, it is still fine to go out for exercise, especially when people have been largely housebound for the past month.
It’s OK to go for a walk or a run. Again, think it through — go out, but not in groups. Keep a safe distance between yourself and people you don’t share your home with.
These really are crazy times we are living through, but let’s not get too crazy.
Common sense, and following the simple safety steps public health workers continually emphasize, will get us through this eventually.