The City of Trail is doing everything it can to keep it’s residents safe, even when the recommendation is not a popular one.
City of Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin went online on Friday and made a Facebook plea to Trail citizens to stop the ‘self-distancing parades’ that have sprung up throughout town and the province, of late.
“Many people have been celebrating birthdays and other milestones during the pandemic with organized neighbourhood vehicle parades,” wrote the mayor. “We understand this gesture is well-intended and is meant to bring joy to people of all ages during this very difficult stage. However, at this time, we must follow the direction of the provincial and federal governments and avoid all social gatherings, including vehicle parades. We are at a very crucial period during the pandemic where residents must stay home unless they are going into work, or going out for essential supplies.”
People have been seeking creative ways to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, its seniors, and other events and, in the process, observing the six-foot, self-distancing paradigm. The parade seemed like a good way to do it, but the social gathering and interaction heightens the chance of unintended contact, whether it’s sharing gifts and treats or meeting in a parking lot before and/or after an event.
“It’s not just about people being in cars by themselves,” Pasin told the Times. “It’s about throwing things from the cars at the children, it’s about the drivers in the cars meeting in one location and getting out of their cars, and having discussions, and social interactions.”
The City has also received calls from people working at home, and frontline workers who just worked a night shift and have been woken by the honking horns, music, vehicles etc. While unfortunate, the policy line from health officials now is to avoid gatherings at all cost.
Mayor Pasin, however, clarified that the plea on Facebook was a recommendation out of necessity and consideration for others.
“The recommendation of not holding parades is not an order, is not something that is enforceable by bylaw,” explained Pasin. “It is strongly recommended and we’re hoping people in the community are going to comply.”
The response from the online community was extensive and immediate. As of Sunday, there were more than 160 Facebook comments, many against the recommendation, and others supportive of the City’s effort. Cities like Kelowna and West Kelowna have also followed suit, asking residents to refrain from holding parades, until the pandemic passes.
For Pasin, the severity of the crisis calls for tough decisions. No matter how disappointing, she urges families to find ways to celebrate occasions at home with their immediate families, and connect online or by phone with friends and extended family.
“I think there are going to be times when we can have a parade and hopefully when this is all done, we can have some kind of community celebration. But to have parades during a pandemic, in my mind, is not appropriate.”
“I understand it is well meaning. It’s well meaning to provide encouragement and fun for children, but it’s not necessary … In times of difficulty like this, we need to dig deep, we need to really dig deep and think about it. It’s not just about the here and now, it’s about saving the lives of people in our community and Canada, and also preserving our healthcare workers, and our frontline workers, who are putting themselves out there every single day for us to keep us safe.”