Opinion: My stomach turns seeing young people not social distancing


Normally when I pass a park on a warm spring day and spot a group of giggling kids playing together on the playground, it warms my heart.

But right now, it just pisses me off.

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When I see a troop of teens huddled together on the beach, sharing drinks and scooching closer to snap selfies, it doesn’t make me miss my high school days, it makes my stomach turn.

This isn’t a snow day, and it’s not the spring break social time that we’ve come to expect during this time of year.

We have yet to see the worst of this global pandemic, and while some seem to be brushing off the warnings by the authorities, I’m starting to take their ignorance personally.

COVID-19 is spreading quickly, and we’ve been urged to stay home and act as though we’ve already contracted the contagious disease.

Many cases are mild enough that the carrier doesn’t realize that they’ve been infected. One visit to a family member or friend, and the virus is passed on, and the spread continues.

In one of her latest updates, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, urges residents to stay home, and only go out for essential trips such as to the grocery store. She emphasized that it’s alright to go for walks, but only with the members that live in your household.

Playdates are not ok. Coffee dates with friends are unacceptable. Crowding into public spaces - even if they are outdoors, is not practicing social distancing. Continuing to do these things will put our province in the same position as Italy, with rapidly spiking cases and increasing death rates by the hour. We could be where they are, only weeks from now, if we don’t start listening to the cautions today.

Physicians are working together to help spread the word, encouraging everyone to stay indoors. In an email sent to my aunt by her own physician, the content reads, “The time to act is now. Our province is in a state of emergency. What we do today will impact the health of British Columbians in the weeks to come. Stay home unless absolutely necessary. No dinner parties. No shopping. No sports, not even outside. Instead, have coffee with a friend online. Keep six feet or two metres away from everyone at all times. Call your loved ones and tell them to do the same.

Remind young people in your life that they can get sick from this virus. More importantly, they can be carriers and cause a lot of harm to parents, grandparents, and other loved ones.”

I get it, your kids are bored. Your teens are craving social interactions, and you need to separate stir crazy siblings. But it’s time to listen to the experts.

Our city shouldn’t have to tape up playgrounds, close down coffee shops, and barricade beaches to get you to stay home.

Because the only thing more annoying than staying home, is knowing that other people aren’t.

Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, Editor of WestCoast Families magazine, and a freelance writer who shares about travel, family, and food in various major print and online publications. Find her on Twitter @biancabujan and Instagram @bitsofbee. 


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