by Alex Masse, Staff Writer
BC recently loosened COVID-19 restrictions to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, following a ban that began back in November. Many people I know are celebrating this change and making plans in their yards or nearby parks. They see it as another step towards this whole pandemic being a thing of the past, right alongside BC’s updated vaccination schedule claiming that everyone will have their first dose by the end of June.
This lifting of restrictions makes me nervous, and I’m not the only one. Some health experts think it’s a bit too soon, even if outdoor settings are safer when it comes to virus spread. These lifts also come at a time where we’re still seeing an influx of new cases in BC — on March 22 it was reported that there were almost 2,000 over three days. Because of this, I highly doubt this minor change in restrictions will be properly followed, and people have every right to be uncomfortable.
Let’s be real here: when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions, some people love to push the envelope. Between the pandemic’s start and October of 2020, 77 fines were issued to those who broke quarantine rules. Just this month, two citizens were arrested for hosting a party in their Vancouver condo. These few examples happened before the restriction lift, and are proof people push boundaries.
The COVID-19 virus has a tendency to squeeze through any crack it can. Even when everything is done right, there’s still a slight risk. My father got it from a coworker while outdoors, without ever removing his mask. He then gave it to me the day before his coworker told him he’d tested positive. Cases like these are definitely rare, but for a lot of people, it isn’t worth the risk — especially more vulnerable groups such as the immunocompromised. One of my close friends has asthma, and he hasn’t seen any of his friends in over a year because he can’t afford to get sick.
I’m not saying this for the sake of scaring people. I’m saying that it’s okay to feel hesitant about seeing other people right now. You’re allowed to have your own comfort level and stand by it. Don’t let others, or the government’s loosening of restrictions, pressure you into something that feels unsafe. This’ll all be over someday, but in the meantime, your health and comfort should be the priority.