Practice safe measures but stay calm and rational

We once lived in a world where we could walk around and socialize without fear or apprehension.

An employee at Paraiso Tropical Latin Food Market wears a mask for safety. | Rob Bernshaw

Once the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, the whole world almost ground to a halt. Economies started to crumble. Many people lost their livelihoods, their ability to freely travel, and the pleasure of physical contact and socialization with family, friends, and loved ones. Self-isolate and physical/social distancing became the new buzz words. Billboards and government messaging around the world suddenly appeared, with such slogans as: “We are in this together but stay 2 metres/6 feet apart”.

An empty school playground stands as evidence of how much has changed since March. | Rob Bernshaw

The perception for some is that years have passed them by when only a few days have elapsed. In the light of a world now turned upside down, the pandemic has changed the dynamics of our society, our way of life, and how people perceive others as they perform everyday tasks. It wasn’t that long ago that we’d walk down the street, shop for groceries, and take part in other, regular activities without thinking about health guidelines. These daily tasks now have people wary, apprehensive, and sometimes afraid of their own shadow.

Is the constant barrage of pandemic updates causing more fear and apprehension in some of us? Has it turned these people fearful of others and into COVID-19 cops? 

People are encouraged to wear masks while in crowded public spaces such as a grocery store. | Rob Bernshaw

People who were calm and rational mere months ago now seem edgy and quickly pass judgement before knowing the whole story. Some turn family, friends, and loved ones in without knowing the whole story of why a person is closer than the two metre distance set by health authorities.

On that note, it is kind of funny when a cough can clear a room faster than the blink of an eye. Before the pandemic was declared, people would have remained in the room and continued to socialize and carry on with their lives as if nothing had happened. I see the humour and the reality at the same time. Someone may have a cough because of smoking cigarettes, because of asthma, or it may simply due to a chronic cough. But the room clears without anyone staying to ask why that person coughed. 

Our world is vastly different and health guidelines and messages are prevalent. | Rob Bernshaw

We now live in a different world where washing our hands and not touching our faces are the mantras of the day. It’s important to be safe by remaining wary but not indifferent or too scared to move. Remember to be safe, but get the whole story before reacting or phoning the authorities on others. None of us truly knows the whole story unless we get it straight from that person’s mouth first.

So let’s all have more compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters in this wonderful world we live in where caring and sharing improves, not declines.

Featured Image: Customers line up using physical distancing at Paraiso Tropical Latin Food Market. | Rob Bernshaw