Considering the new rural reality in Coronavirus Canada

If you’re like me, you spent part of the weekend with your anxiety working overtime. Mad rushes and tales of chaos at grocery stores are fuelling that anxiety. Scenes of empty shelves and runs on toilet paper like it’s made of gold certainly don’t help. But health concerns about loved ones in our community are also fraying nerves at a regular rate.

COVID-19 is nasty, nasty business and those that are immunocompromised are at greater risk. In part, that means grandparents and the elderly and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have at least an ounce of concern about the health and well-being of those we love so dear.

If you’re like me, you’ve had to soothe the nerves of a young person in your life who has ingested too many adult conversations and talking points from news broadcasts for their own good.

Some of the younger students in our community are thrilled by the reality of a three week long March Break but others that are more media aware have put two and two together and realize how dire the situation must be for everything they know to be closed down. Not just schools but athletics, after school programs and planned excursions are going by the way side and adds to the worry for those whose lives are based on routine.

Let’s remember those in our lives that can read worried faces and concerned tones and reassure them social distancing, good handwashing and healthy habits are the only things we can control over the next few weeks and that’s going to be enough to get us by the challenge facing all of us.

If you’re like me, you were disappointed the Wellington Dukes, Lehigh Cement Bantam B Kings and Picton Pirates had their championship dreams dashed.

Make no mistake, we applaud Hockey Canada’s decision to end the 2020 post season. Full stop. It was the only choice available to the governing body of the sport in our country and the Gazette is thankful the umbrella organization made the choice not to play this past weekend. In light of how the news cycle is changing every day and conditions are growing more dire, it is painfully obvious there was no alternative to cancelling the playoffs. But it’s not hard to imagine the sense of disappointment and feel for these young athletes in the wake of losing not to a better opponent but to a faceless virus.

If you’re like me, you got outside last weekend and are looking forward to another blue sky Saturday and Sunday.

Whether it be for an hour, half a day or longer, reconnecting with nature and unwinding is the best antidote for the cabin fever we will all be facing as we practice what governments and health officials are preaching. Yard work, outdoor projects, walks along trails and visits to parks are calling this weekend.

If you’re like me, you’ve been heartened by the response to the COVID-19 outbreak by our Prime Minister and our Premier. Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford have drawn varying levels of criticism from this space over the past year but both have been the calm and soothing voices Ontarians need to hear right now. Both have ditched rhetoric for reassurance and both leaders have their finger on the pulse of Canada, Canadians and their concerns.

If you’re like me, you’ve had your spirits lifted by this community’s reaction. The Acoustic Grill’s offer of free meals as they clean out thier fridges and cupboards is just one of a few feel good stories. Some County-based Air Bnb’s are offering free accommodations for front line health workers so they don’t bring sickness home to family.

Finally, If you’re like me, you know there are tough times ahead for our community. But you also know the spirit of Prince Edward County can never be dampened and the people of this island will support and look after one another until the storm passes and there’s a brighter day dawning.

Jason Parks

PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY

STUDENTS SCORE BIG WIN If the term “Stop the presses!” was still used around the Picton Gazette office, we might have shouted such a phrase Thursday afternoon after the Student hockey team finally bested the Staff/Alumni/OPP club in the annual PECI Staff-Student hockey game. Well over a decade of frustration and dominance was washed away as the students scored a 7-6 shootout win. Above, Student skater Thomas Davies tries to escape the clutches of Staff team member Andrew Holmes. Of note, Student Nolan Dawson (at left) scored the shootout winning goal (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)