Like many of you, I have been looking forward to the gradual reopening of Ontario this summer. We have seen some businesses able to reopen; we can get haircuts again (if we can get an appointment); we can have a drink or dinner on a patio. Some have embraced this reopening and others are cautious and not ready to venture out yet. And that is okay.
As we move into a gradual reopening, let’s remember that we are not all going to have the same level of comfort. I have taken my kids to play mini-golf, but I haven’t gone to a patio. I went to the bookstore to pick up part of my son’s birthday present but I still feel uncomfortable in the grocery store.
No matter where we are, and no matter our level of anticipation, our province will eventually open. Whether you are looking forward with great anticipation, or great trepidation, please be kind to others.
Many of the people I know, myself included, are wearing masks when they go to public places where physical distancing is difficult. And there are many people who are not wearing masks. Before jumping to judgement, know that there are lots of reasons people may not be wearing masks. Be kind. Some people with respiratory difficulties may find a mask hard to wear and still be able to breathe freely. Some people have panic attacks when wearing a mask and are worried about having an attack in public. Be kind, not judgmental. You do what you believe is right for you. I will do what I believe is right for me. We can both keep ourselves and others safe.
Some people are eagerly awaiting the reopening of schools in September. Others are very nervous about it and don’t believe we can keep people safe if we allow all of our children to return to school. Some, like me, are conflicted. And that is okay. Be kind.
One thing I know for certain is that we will move toward having more opportunities to be out, to interact with people, to live our lives out of isolation. As we do, lets make sure we are continuing to be kind to others, to assume good intentions and to be slow to judge. Otherwise, we undo all the good we have done.
Keep doing all you can to keep yourself safe. Keep doing all you can to keep others around you safe. Wash your hands. Physically distance. Stay home if you are sick. Wear a mask if you can. But in addition to our physical safety, we have a responsibility to protect one another’s mental and emotional safety. Please don’t shame others for not doing what you would do, especially if you don’t know their situation.