Green beverages, fiddle music and leprechauns-those are some of the typical codes and conventions that come to mind today.
And while St. Patrick’s Day is typically a jovial event, we can’t help but be a wee bit pensive. Hard as it may be to believe but it was two years ago today that Greater Napanee-and several communities across Canada-declared a state of emergency in relation to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
In recognition of the somber anniversary, March 11 was designated as a National Day of Observance to honour those who lost their lives due to the pandemic.
The date was also a chance to reflect back on the many impacts endured through the wake of COVID-19. Here in the Quinte area we’ve fared better than a lot of communities, though that’s of little comfort to the 44 families who have lost loved ones. With all that’s happened in the last two years it’s a little wild to think back to March of 2020. The uncertainty of what was to come.
The anxiety that a simple trip to the grocery store could induce.
One memory that’s always stuck with this reporter is driving the streets of Kingston in May and looking through the windows of local restaurants, still decked out in their St. Patrick’s Day décor.
They were seemingly frozen in time, halted at the point when the pandemic became too big to ignore and forever changed so much about our society. In some ways it’s hard to even remember what life was like in early March 2020, when we could gather in large groups, unmasked and care free.
Flash forward to this coming Monday and we’ll once again have the option of entering a store unmasked, should we so choose.
For some it may be a little too soon-and that’s fine. Those who still wish to wear a face covering when in large groups should feel free to do so without ridicule or harassment.
Whether its autoimmune concerns, living with an at risk person or just plain preference, if someone wants to continue to wear a mask beyond the mandated date, that’s their business.
Others can’t wait to rip it off and to breathe the re-circulated grocery store air.
For those of us cursed with blurry vision and an aversion to slipping contacts into our eye, the thought of not having to deal with daily glasses fog brings great joy.
Monday will mark a milestone of sorts in the battle of COVID-19, but the war is by no means over. Safety measures will still need to be observed as slowly more and more protocols are lifted. We’ve come this far, it would be a shame to have to go backwards by rushing things now. Given today’s date, it only seems fitting to close with an Irish blessing and apply it to AC-After COVID.
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. And if we may add, may we all continue to show the kindness that’s gotten us to this point today.
Adam Prudhomme is the Managing Editor of the Napanee Beaver
PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY