A lot of us woke up Monday morning, wondering if we’d just had a bad dream.
Closures of schools. Closures of city facilities, including our libraries and recreation centres. Travel restrictions and the need for some of us to isolate ourselves from the public. But, this is the reality of life in Edmonton, as we try to limit the spread of COVID-19. We each need to do our part to stop, or at least slow, the growth of this global pandemic.
We at Avenue are living it as well. We have staff who wonder how they are going to balance work and have the kids at home. Each new development brings new worries.
But there will be a light at the end of this tunnel. Whether it’s a few weeks from now or a few months from now, we will get back to a normal. And the kind of city we wake up to when this crisis comes to an end will depend on the actions we take now.
Let’s follow the directives from our health officials. Let’s cut our travel plans. If you have the sniffles or a cough, stay home. Wash your hands regularly. Practise your social distancing, that’s a couple of arms lengths.
Edmonton is a city filled with people who support each other. This is a big crisis, but not an impossible one. Remember that your local businesses will need to weather some stormy seas. They need to be supported. If you don’t feel comfortable going out, there are many businesses and restaurants that have or have launched delivery services. We will find innovative ways to deliver services to each other.
If you own a business that has altered its hours, launched a delivery service or is providing more to-go options, let us know. Message us via social media or email me at email@example.com. We want to create an online resource that shows how we can support our city’s businesses and stay safe at the same time.
If you do feel uncomfortable going out at this time, make the pledge that, when the all-clear signal is given by our federal and provincial health officials, you go back and support your local businesses. Don’t allow this time of quarantines, travel bans, social distancing and community disengagement to become the new normal. These are temporary measures for trying times. Once we get out of this, we need to rally. From the Black Friday tornado to supporting those displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfire, we have shown crises don’t deflate Edmonton. The reason we used the City of Champions moniker for so long was to symbolize not our sports teams, but how we rally together as a community.
We’ve had to postpone our Best Restaurants and Best Dressed events as we support Alberta Health’s mandate to ban gatherings of more than 250 people. The key word is “postponed.” Not “cancelled.” We want to celebrate the city’s food and fashion scenes as soon as the authorities deem it safe to do so. We’re not abandoning the things that we know people love about Edmonton; we understand that things simply have to be placed on hold for a while.
At a meeting this morning, our publisher used an example from a century ago. After the Spanish influenza pandemic passed, the decade that followed, the Roaring Twenties, was a time of great growth and artistic expression. Humans are resilient and resourceful. We will bounce back.