Without question, this pandemic is testing our patience. As a society, we’ve really not experienced anything like this protracted, invisible assault on our economic and social systems.
We’re being tested both individually and collectively, and every lapse in our social distancing and sanitation discipline is resulting in an increase in cases and more demands for more restrictive public health orders that will test our collective patience even more. We’re in a vicious cycle that can only be broken if everyone (or at least the vast majority of us) adheres to public health orders, directives, and advice; regardless if we “agree” with them or not.
These orders and directives are relatively simple: wash your hands often and thoroughly, wear a mask when in public spaces, keep your social bubble small, keep your distance from those not in your bubble, don’t travel if you don’t absolutely have to, and self-isolate if you feel any flu or cold-like symptoms.
If we want to avoid more stringent lockdowns and another major assault on our economic system, and we want to get back to some kind of normal social interaction … as the NIKE ad used to say: “Just do it!” If not for your own sake, then do it for the sake of others, especially our elders and people in our community who are immunocompromised.
As a Council, we’re doing what we can to mitigate the impact of this pandemic on our local economy, our social systems, and the City’s budget (which determines your property taxation).
The latter was helped greatly by a $2.5 million COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant from the Province that is intended to assist the City to deal with lost revenues and increased costs due to COVID-19, emergency planning and response, upgrading our connectivity and technology, and COVID-19 impacts on vulnerable populations. Council’s Finance Committee will be incorporating this much needed and much appreciated financial assistance into our 2021 budget.
Our business support team (a proactive partnership with Quesnel’s Business Associations, the Chamber of Commerce, and Community Futures) continues to work to support all of the registered businesses operating in the North Cariboo. They will be conducting another round of direct contact with businesses to ensure they are aware of the current round of federal and provincial business supports.
We’re also working with the not-for-profit sector to better understand our community’s needs, especially as we head into the Christmas season. Part of this work includes attempts to find suitable replacement programs to fill the vacuum created by the cancellation of the Christmas Food Hamper program.
As my mother often says: “this too shall pass.” So, while we wait for an effective vaccine to be approved and distributed, let’s continue to exercise discipline and patience by staying the course and, as a result, minimizing the impact that COVID-19 can have on our economic and social systems.