Tales of pandemic defiance

SFU students share stories about people disregarding COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions

Illustration courtesy of Tiffany Chan.

Please get out of my personal bubble, I just want a coffee

By: Espresso Myself

With COVID-19 restrictions starting to lift, I was happy to be able to return to my favourite local coffee shop. While I wasn’t quite comfortable enough to take a seat and enjoy my drink in the cafe, I figured it would be very safe to just grab my coffee and run. They had those stickers on the floor to show you how far away six feet was, the plexiglass in front of the barista, and numerous signs encouraging people to wear masks. 

So tell me why when I went into line, properly distanced from the person in front of me, that the person behind me thought being six feet apart meant breathing down my neck. This was uncomfortably close, even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic. And before you even ask me, of course they didn’t have a mask on. 

I don’t think I ever left the cafe faster in my life. On my way out with my drink I took one last look behind me and watched this person move the plexiglass curtain out of the way so they could talk to the barista. Not only is that incredibly unsafe for both this person and the barista, but it is just disrespectful. We need to do better. 

There are no essential social gatherings during a pandemic 

By: A Frustrated Frog 

At the beginning of the pandemic, those around me were happy to cooperate when the province went into lockdown. However, COVID-19 recommendations rapidly became “simply a guideline” once we entered Phase 2. The whining about needing to see friends and family was always backed with a jeer of “we’re not as bad as the United States!” While reminding those around me that we should be limiting unnecessary interactions, I was labelled as paranoid — which I consider an alarming disregard for the health of those around us. I miss my friends and family too, but this seems like a trivial issue considering others are struggling with job insecurity and financial stability. I’m not saying you should never leave your house, but in the middle of a pandemic, would it really be so bad to simply get take-out instead of sitting in a restaurant where everyone’s masks are disgracefully tucked under their chin? 

Older adults flouting COVID-19 guidelines

Byline: anonymous

To older adults who think they’re above pandemic guidelines, I have a simple request. Can you please stop hanging out in public places in large groups? I’m trying my best to limit my social group and to go out as little as possible, you know, as everyone should in a pandemic. That means I can’t see my friends as often, and I can’t do recreational activities unless they’re through Zoom or another online platform, even though they are starting up again. I do all this to help keep COVID-19 numbers down and to protect you. But when I see some of you going to the park to hang out in huge groups, having picnics and BBQs, celebrating each other’s birthdays, hearing from my parents about your road trips, I am starting to rethink the purpose and effects of my actions. Your demographic can spread COVID-19 well enough without me. What good are my safety precautions if you keep insisting on expanding your social circles? So please, can you not?

Get out, and stay out!

By: Stace Afe 

Everytime I see an article about Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendations, it’s overwhelmingly clear that the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19 is higher indoors than outdoors. So when, on a perfectly sunny day, my roommate decides to have a friend over and hang out with them inside, it takes all my effort not to hit her on the head Looney Tunes style — I’m not actually advocating this as a solution to anything, but the frustration is real.

Doubly infuriating is when she expresses to me how anxious she is of catching COVID-19. I’ve had chats with her about this and she says she understands and wants to take the proper precautions since she lives with other people (myself and another roommate). She’ll generally do this while I’m around, but if I spend a couple days at my partner’s place and come back home unexpectedly, there’s a high chance I’ll find someone inside the house. Again, on a perfectly hot day when we have a patio with an umbrella for shading. 

I’ve taken to just spending more and more time at my partner’s place. But it’s not that hard to take a blanket with you and sit outside. There are parks if you don’t have a backyard. 

Family flout

By: Shirley U. Care

For those of you with family members who are being reasonable with the recommendations and guidelines outlined by the CDC and other health ministers, I envy you. I would say I envy the sane family you have but even with the safety precautions, there’s no such thing as a family that is sane. They all have their own quirks. But my family’s cute, little quirk is to endanger not only their own lives, but the lives of others through negligence, ignorance, and being stubborn. The irony in this situation is that my culture is generally one that has been known to force feed its children into careers in science. Yet my family can’t put aside their conspiracy theories for one second to see the science behind COVID-19. I guess that’s what I get for having a family that supports my passion for writing — should’ve been a doctor.