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Welcome to Phase 2

Jody Vance: Some are ready to get out there responsibly, others need more time. Whatever the case, the most important thing remains the same: be kind, be calm, stay safe.
Time to unstack…some of them.

Six months into 2020. Ten weeks into a Pandemic. Two weeks into Phase 2 of reopening our economy.

Is it just me or does this year feel as though it’s been ten years long?

I think it’s safe to say that it seems like we’re experiencing way too much. Acknowledging how overwhelming the current global news cycle is, today let’s stay in our tight BC bubble to talk about the choices and the stresses of where we are at, now.

Reflecting on home school, pot banging at 7:00 pm, zoom calling cocktails, 1,000-piece puzzles and banana bread – for many of us the last 10 weeks has been hands-down the most stressful time in our lives.

Phase 1 was legitimately scary, being told  to go home, stay home, work from home, see no one, wash hands, don’t touch your face, isolate if sick. Let’s be honest, it’s taken a significant toll on all of us.

It’s been a lot, a lot.

Two weeks into Phase 2, the gentle re-opening, we see glimmers of hope! Those, however, come with an all new set of stresses.

Yes, we’ve gotten great advice from our provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and others. But for most of us, putting it into practice is daunting. How do we safely return to school, work, and socializing without losing it?

If you don’t watch, or read, the daily briefings held by Henry and health minister Adrian Dix, you’re missing out on extremely helpful information. BC is among the safest places on the planet, because we’ve been given solid details, doable asks, and a map to some semblance of normalcy.

And that’s what we’re all searching for, right? Even a fraction of the social connections and interaction we took for granted just a few short months ago. (Remember December?)

We’ve all witnessed a broad spectrum of how different people navigate this pandemic. There are safe and less safe ways to go about it. The key is knowing the difference between those two ends of the spectrum.

For some, Phase 2, has proven to be something like “release the hounds.” Desperate for some semblance of normalcy and restart of the economy, some blasted out the gates. Some people tolerate more risk than others. Understanding how riskier socialization might impact your fellow humans is the big key here.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are those perhaps too anxious about loosening restrictions. They “just can’t do” gatherings of any size, in the name of protecting their most vulnerable. In every sense, they’re just not there yet.

The Middle today is to not judge either way of navigating Phase 2. It’s yet another reminder to do the three little things that Dr. Henry says each day: “be kind, be calm and stay safe.” If we all do that, we can keep the curve flat for as long as it takes to find treatment or a vaccine.

So: track where you go, and who you’ve seen. Reason? Simple: if you test positive in the days/weeks/months ahead, health officials must track where you may have spread COVID-19.

In Phase 2, a tight bubble means easy contact tracing. Community spread is the clear and present danger. To continue opening up, any community spread must be kept as close to zero as possible.

We’ve done an excellent job in that department. Let’s keep it up.

All British Columbians can proudly own a piece of our provincial success in flattening the COVID curve so far. Thanks to our incredible “buy in” mentality, this province has become an example of what works in battling back this invisible foe.

We, you and me, have helped to save lives and protect our most vulnerable, we’ve supported and protected our frontline workers — healthcare workers in particular.

We did that. Let’s get through this next pothole-filled path the same way: together. Without judgement.

Let’s make sure we help inform those who might not be aware of contact tracing and testing — and remind them this is “just for now” not forever.

Being a COVID Cop is stressful. So is requiring a friend to “re-explain” why they’re not up for the “social distancing BBQ” with you and 48 other friends.

Whether you’re all-in for dine-in or not up for more than take-out, let’s promise to continue to be the BC that got us HERE. Safe.

These are anything but typical times. We’re living a lifetime of stress in just a few short months. Let’s have each other’s backs…2 meters apart, of course.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.


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