Almost there...

March 2, 2022
Council Column

As a young man, I loved to dance. In fact, as a teenager in the Navy, I and a group of my buddies learned how to disco dance when we were in Pearl Harbour and introduced this dance craze to Victoria when we returned to our home port – true story! So, I fully understand the joy of those who are celebrating the return of dancing as the Province begins the slow, steady process of lifting the pandemic restrictions we’ve all been living under.

More importantly, the ability of restaurants and bars to return to full occupancy and the easing of restrictions for both indoor and outdoor gatherings is critically important for so many businesses and for families planning weddings and other private events. Hopefully, these steps will relieve some of the mental and emotional strain people have been living under for the past two years.

My current ‘dance card’ (meetings and public speaking events) is also starting to move back to normal as we make the switch from virtual to in-person events. It’s actually quite strange to start feeling the butterflies fluttering in my stomach again as I prepare speeches and presentations that I’ll be giving to live audiences.

However, as we slowly move back toward a more normal life, it’s critically important that we continue to exercise patience and adherence to the remaining Public Health Orders (PHOs); namely, the necessity to show proof of vaccination when and where required, and the continued requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces. The last thing we need at this time is another wave of COVID cases that sets us back and creates the circumstances for another round of restrictions.

It’s also critically important that we all understand and internalize the fact that any remaining PHOs are imposed by the Province and can only be lifted by the Provincial Health Officer. These restrictions are not imposed at the discretion of any business, or event organizer, or School Board, or City Council, or front-line staff person in any organization. All of these entities are subject to the PHOs and required, by law, to adhere to them, just as private citizens are.

So, as we move toward a less restrictive post-pandemic world, please be considerate and kind toward those who continue to have to ask you to show proof of vaccination or to wear a mask – better yet, please quickly and voluntarily adhere to these remaining restrictions and take steps to make the lives of front-line workers easier during these final days of pandemic restrictions.

Until the final PHOs are lifted, the City of Quesnel and all of its varied programs and functions, particularly recreation programs and associated events, will continue to require masks and proof of vaccination as per the remaining restrictions. The City has no discretion in this matter and must continue to require adherence to the rules imposed by the Province until such times as the Public Health Officer lifts them.

Individuals who yell and scream at the City’s front-line staff (or the front-line staff of any organization) about their “rights” are only hurting people who have no discretionary authority to concede to their demands – these individuals are simply adding unnecessary mental and emotional strain to people whose jobs have become more and more difficult over the past two years. 

Please, we’re almost there, let’s get through these final days and weeks of restrictions with maturity and consideration for the emotional health of others. 

Mayor Bob Simpson

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