There is light at the end of the tunnel

COVID-19 restrictions are being lessened with many businesses reopening

There seems to be some light at the end of this COVID-19 tunnel, with the stages of reopening Alberta underway this month. It’s been an interesting ride so far, to say the least, and the affects will likely be felt for a long time to come.

This summer particularly, some temporary sacrifices are being made.

The cancellation (or postponement, depending on how you look at it) of the 2020 Ponoka Stampede is a big blow to the community, for example.

Now it’s true that not everyone enjoys Stampede week in Ponoka, with the extra visitors and all that brings. It seems to me however, that all the potential issues are managed well and any inconveniences are far outweighed by the benefits to the town and I’m saying that as a four-year resident of Riverside.

To fail to recognize and acknowledge the loss to the community with no Stampede this year, if it happens to not affect you, is short-sighted and a mentality akin to those saying to “just let the virus run it’s course because the strong will survive.”

I, myself, can handle the increased noise and traffic as it means funds will go to local service groups and clubs that enrich the lives of children, families and individuals in Ponoka, not to mention the boost it represents to local businesses.

If this experience with the coronavirus has taught us anything as a human family, it should be that we need to look outside of ourselves and care for each other.

Other affects will be longer-lasting and some things, sadly, may not recover at all.

Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange made it official on May 6 that schools would not be re-opening for classes for the rest of the school year. When they do reopen in the fall, it will likely be to a strange atmosphere of masks and spread out desks.

One day it will just be a fascinating story they tell their grandkids, but for now, normal everyday things feel alien, like talking to a teller through a plastic shield, or getting excited every time a car passes the house.

Yes, this young generation, from children to young adults, will have stories to tell, of drive-through weddings, birthday hello’s over Skype, or missing friends, graduations, or other milestones.

If you’re an essential worker, you may still be juggling with child care, and wondering how you’re going to cope now, and until the fall.

That is a frustrating conundrum all on its own. If you are able and need to work, but have children that need care, but are supposed to social distance from anyone who doesn’t live in your home, it’s a contrary, oxy moron kind of situation.

The policies around child care licensing that don’t allow for pre-school and school-aged children to be cared for in the same facility seem nonsensical as well.

I sent a letter to the government, asking them to consider allowing older and younger siblings of essential workers to be cared for together, for emotional well-being, convenience and reducing exposure multiple care providers presents, just to receive a generic response that was no help at all.

Throughout this whole thing, though, there have been positives as well, and I’d be remiss to not acknowledge them.

Families are spending more time together, in their own household, or connecting more (virtually) to family members further away.

Perhaps long-awaited tasks are now being accomplished, or much-needed emotional and mental breaks are being taken. Or perhaps you’re simply surviving through this time, and that is alright too.

Humankind is resilient, and still finds the humour within difficulty, and I’ve enjoyed the creativity and ability we have to laugh at ourselves that I’ve seen online.

Though we are apart, and all going through different situations, we see the commonality of shared experiences in relatable comedy, whether it’s just a witty meme on social media, funny parodies poking fun at the ridiculousness of it all, or more heartfelt, uplifting messages of encouragement.

If you’re struggling to see the silver lining , or just becoming weary and mentally worn out from all the restrictions, just hang in there a bit longer. The end is in sight, even though it’s still unclear exactly what that ‘end’ will look like.

For now, and always, take care of yourself, and stay safe.


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