A little COVID-Kindness can go a long way! Canadians have a certain reputation. To the world it seems we’re generally nice people. We’re polite. We help strangers in need. I’d like to think it’s more than a stereotype and that friendly folk are typically the majority.
But, these are not typical times. Bring on a global pandemic and amid gestures of incredible generosity, we also begin to see not-so-pleasant behaviours like “plate shaming”, hoarding supplies and frosty looks directed at others not following safety measures. It’s understandable that the stress brought on by so many changes in a short time can make us irritable. But, if there was ever a time for kindness and compassion for our fellow citizens, it’s now.
I was shopping yesterday with a friend who seemed to be increasingly agitated as we waited at the check out. When we got outside she tore off her mask, took a deep breath and exclaimed, “Oh, I felt like I was drowning!” She has asthma and the mask had made it difficult for her to breathe. I mentioned that she would be exempt from the mask policy, but she replied, “I’d rather suffer with a mask on than face the fierce judgement from people thinking I’m just a rule-breaker!”
It wasn’t an easy decision for TBDHU to require masks in enclosed public spaces. The risks and benefits were weighed carefully. Research shows that masks are an added layer of protection in the effort to prevent a potential spike in COVID-19 infections. Protection and prevention are prominent words in the world of public health. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” but since there is no known cure for COVID-19 yet, prevention is everything! At this point, we need to do all we reasonably can to shield our communities while still progressing towards the return to life as we previously enjoyed. Masks are just one of several strategies - visit tbdhu.com/stopgerms to review other helpful ways to Go out Smart!
Wearing a mask may take some getting used to. Some people have been wearing masks for a while, but for others it’s pretty new. I imagine that this is similar to what it was like in the 1970’s when wearing a seat belt was no longer optional. I expect that although there will be an adjustment period, wearing masks will become the “new normal”, just as how buckling up is something we do now almost without thinking about it.
TBDHU is promoting the wearing of masks with the motto: Be COVID Kind! This refers to wearing a mask (if you are able) as a way to show care and respect for others. But, it’s also a reminder to show compassion for those who are exempt for health and safety reasons. We all need to be careful that we don’t make assumptions about people without a mask. No one needs to provide proof of exemption. We just need to trust that people are doing the right thing as best they can.
Humans communicate a great deal through body language. This can be a little tricky with a mask on, but surprisingly, many people can still read expressions even with most of the face covered. Our eyes say a lot. They can reveal a warm smile. They can convey kindness. Let’s show all of our neighbours consideration at this challenging time. A little friendliness can go a long way. After all, we do have a reputation to uphold.