British Columbia is officially in Phase 3 of our re-opening plan.
But to paraphrase a famous B.C. novelist, Phase 3 is here, but it isn’t evenly distributed.
Some of us have plunged straight into Phase 4 – which was supposed to take place after we had a vaccine or had otherwise completely stamped out transmission. They’re going to crowded parties, travelling as widely as possible, eating out frequently, meeting friends and family. Social bubble? What’s that?
We can all boo and hiss at the folks who are violating the rules of Phase 3.
But some of us were never actually in Phase 3 to begin with.
Hi. I’m living in Phase 2.
When we first started opening up cautiously, advancing from Phase 1 (cower in place, work from home, shun your fellow humans like they’re shambling zombies hungry for brains) I was happy. New infection numbers were low and still dropping. I was extremely nervous about coming back to work, but it’s gone okay.
Mostly, my wife and I were happy to see our immediate family again, and a couple of close friends.
But that’s where we stopped.
Phase 3 has meant nothing to us. We’re not eating out at restaurants, spaced out or not. I love going to the movies, but that’s not in the cards. We’re not getting haircuts or going to see live performances or going on vacation, even within B.C.
My wife has asthma and a history of lung infections. Beyond her safety, the people we most want to see are our parents – all in their 60s and 70s.
I’m not terribly worried about contracting COVID-19. (Well, I’m worried about it doing a number on my lungs and heart and maybe causing long-term health effects. But I’m not too worried about death.) I am worried about my loved ones getting it
We might be too cautious. Even at the alarming transmission levels we’ve seen in the last few days, the total number of detected cases in B.C. is low.
But we decided we’d rather be too cautious than not cautious enough.
So we’re staying where we are. And if you ask around among your extended circle of friends and family, you certainly know others who are still in Phase 2, or even Phase 1.
Seniors with serious health issues, anyone with high blood pressure or diabetes or lower lung capacity, anyone who’s been through cancer treatment in the last year. If you’re worried about your health, or the health of someone close to you, you’re more worried about COVID.
I’m not interested in being dissuaded from this path.
Those of use who are being more cautious are acting as a firebreak for the rest of the province. For every person who decides to go to a wild party or a crowded tent revival, there are just as many who are still hunkered down, washing our hands, wearing masks in stores, baking and watching Netflix and reading.
When there’s a reliable vaccine, we’ll join you. Until then, we’re in Phase 2 for the long haul.
Matthew Claxton is an award-winning reporter with the Langley Advance Times.