I'm almost afraid to look at my Chamber Chat from a year ago but it certainly feels a bit like we're reliving that experience of "two more weeks" or perhaps, by April, the weekly message was replaced with the ongoing updates to how the provincial government was managing closures and the federal government was managing funding support.
Those were exhausting days and a year later, the fatigue is evident. We're zoomed out and a pivot is so "last year" as we've now done it so often, it feels like a pirouette.
If you were able to join us in our conversation with the Health Unit when we were on the brink of "going red", there is one thing that resonates with me... as a community, we were safe for a very long time and maybe didn't feel the same threat of COVID that larger cities felt. Belleville was our bubble. I've spoken out many times that retail or restaurants are not the source of public transmission. When you provide safe spaces for people to go - they don't retreat to private places with no protocol - and with the community spread now happening here, outside of restaurants and stores, that seems more evident than ever. I also resist the urge to blame tourists or travelers because it's far too easy to hold someone else responsible for the surge in numbers when the reality is people are ignoring the orders to self isolate right here. And we're also hearing this is not the same virus.
So, it's back to our little bubbles. It's back to sanitizing and distancing and most of all, staying home if you're not well (getting tested) and getting in line for the vaccine.
It was great to hear from MPP Todd Smith the federal CRSB was extended from 2 to 4 weeks... if you have an employee that should be staying home and you don't have paid sick days, link them to this resource.
The CRSB provides $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per week for up to a maximum of four weeks, for workers who:
- Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
- Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
- have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.
This is probably not over yet. But two things I learned early on - "those who refuse to acknowledge their past are forced to relive it" - and "perception is reality". I was reading a book that (coincidentally) took place around the time of the Black Plague and how in one small town, there was a nun, who went against the physician's practice of the day of blood-letting and gathering (because the illness was evidence of sin so you'd better get to church) and advocated for washing with vinegar, isolation and even wore a face covering. She was almost burned for being a witch.
It has reminded me that a virus doesn't care what we think or believe.
The virus will spread and we have learned from our past how to prevent that... and we're now facing one that is far more contagious.
As we come out of this lockdown it will be important to remain vigilant and responsible. We have the "technology" so to speak so let's use that to stay safe until it has run its course. You have all been doing your parts and we will continue to advocate for the PPE funding and grants where we can so when we do get through this, we are all still here together. SEE BELOW FOR CURRENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Please stay safe, stay well... and as always, if there is information you need from a professional resource expert, we'll continue to put on webinars with the people you need to hear from.