OPINION: Have you relaxed?

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Did Feb. 17 feel any different for you?

We aren’t talking about the freezing rain, ice pellets and horizontal snow. This is about the relaxation of a number of COVID-19 restrictions by the province just ahead of the Family Day weekend.

For most of us, the answer was no. Life continued pretty much as it did before – masks, sanitizer, and social distancing.

But for small business owners, they likely felt cautious optimism, being able to experience a sense of normalcy with no capacity limits.

Health-care officials likely felt the same way, hopeful. Surgeries and other procedures – on-again, off-again victims of pandemic needs – are on again. It’s hard to run operating rooms when the expertise of health-care personnel is needed in the ICU helping to keep COVID-19 patients alive.

But as ICU and overall COVID-related hospitalizations wane, those staff can return to the OR, meaning needed procedures are being performed once again.

The cautious element of the optimism comes due to the fact we’ve seen this before. As previous waves of COVID-19 waned, the province relaxed restrictions…and look what ultimately happened.

We can’t blame “the science,” as it is constantly evolving. Viruses mutate; efforts to curtail infection rates and protect as many people as possible change.

We have Freedom Convoy supporters claiming support for the relaxation of the restrictions, while the Doug Ford government said back in December that when it felt the numbers were dropping, it would gradually open things up again.

Did the protesters sway the government? Let’s just let each side claim victory here if it helps reduce the divide this country is experiencing.

The bottom line is we should all be doing whatever we can to help keep as many people out of hospital with COVID-19 as possible. Regardless of if you are pro-vaccination or anti-vaccination, that means helping to reduce the chance of exposure to older citizens and the immunocompromised.

For a pro-vaxxer, make sure you’re boosted, keep up with the hand washing, wearing your mask and remaining socially distanced wherever possible.

For the anti-vaxxer, respect the rest of us…the 80-plus-per-cent of the nation that is vaccinated and adhering to government rules.

All of us, however need to do our part to support our Chatham-Kent small businesses any way we can.

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