It seems like the days meld together into one as we physically distance ourselves from our community and our neighbours. We have done two grocery runs in 4 weeks, wearing masks we made early in the pandemic. Apparently they’re now recommending people wear masks while out in public, though the WHO suggests it’s more for people who are sick to avoid infecting others than for people wearing them to avoid getting sick.
We have changed our grocery shopping strategy – now we shop for 2+ weeks at a time rather than a few days, as we’ve planned ahead to decide what we want to eat for the long term. It also means we have to spend less time exposed to others in the grocery store.
Even the simple process of going grocery shopping has changed. Our local store is only letting in a certain number of people at once. They give you a cart with a handle wiped down in hand sanitizer. Their shelves are stocked (unlike our other grocery store which I won’t mention here). They have a person directing you to the tills and making sure that you don’t stand too close to the person in front of you. The cashiers are isolated behind plexiglass shields so they don’t get droplets on them from someone sneezing or coughing. It’s all run like clockwork and there don’t seem to be too many people acting out, though it looks like they’ve hired bouncers to direct people and they would know how to deal with trouble.
At the drugstore it’s even stranger. They are only letting 4 people in the store at once, and only one at a time to go to the pharmacy. They’ve hung plastic from the ceiling around both the pharmacy and the main checkout desk, and put a plexiglass shield in the middle to protect the cashier/pharmacist. The machine that reads your credit card is sitting on a table outside of the cashier’s cubicle, so they don’t have to hand it to you to use. All the while there’s the sound of rippling plastic as it shivers in the drugstore’s ventilation system.
The second hand bookstore is closed. The local liquor store is only letting 4 people in at once and is wiping their counters and debit/credit machine after every purchase. The dentist and eye doctor are closed except for emergencies. A local counsellor is doing sessions via Zoom, so people can still maintain their mental health even if they can’t meet in person.
But at the same time I see my neighbours having visitors and doing outdoor things with them, especially now that the weather is so nice. I wonder what they’re thinking, that the physical distancing rules don’t apply to them. I wonder what would happen if they got sick – would they be sorry they were so gregarious during a pandemic?
Sometimes I feel like the measures we’re taking are overkill, but then I look at the numbers and watch the news and it’s clear this is a big deal. It’s easy to try and brush it off just for the wish to return to normalcy. But we won’t be returning to that anytime soon. Last I read, we might have to have a series of periods of no restrictions then returning to physical distancing then going to no restrictions again. Yesterday I saw a tweet that said that researchers are finding that some people who have had COVID-19 have a worryingly low level of antibodies to it. Which suggests that you could potentially get it again after already having had it once. This is not good news, and only further research will tell us if this is indeed the case.
Meanwhile I continue to take my once-daily perennial garden photos. I make notes about the garden and the weather. I’ve started laying out my veggie garden hoses and planted my leafy greens. Life goes on, even when it’s severely curtailed.