A little humanity goes a long way - Denny Scott editorial
The past two months have almost felt like they may have taken place before the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve covered the Huron County Plowing Match, as well as markets, fairs and other special events and the number of people that have been at those events were, if not at pre-pandemic level, higher than what I’ve seen at anything else I’ve covered since March of 2020.
It’s been a long time since there was any real sense of normalcy in my job and it was a nice change of pace. That was especially true two weekends ago, when I was covering both a fall fair and a special ceremony in Vanastra to honour its history as a Canadian Forces Base. Both showed just how far we’ve come, as people were greeting each other and just being social (while distancing when necessary).
That was great and it gave me hope that one day soon we won’t need all these regulations. It also gave me hope that the fourth wave may not be as dire as had been predicted, but, in true Chumbawamba fashion, as soon as the fear of the pandemic was knocked down in my mind, it got right back up again.
Last Monday, a day after I covered the aforementioned event in Vanastra, I was watching a North Huron Township Council meeting in which Deputy-Reeve Trevor Seip reminded me just how the pandemic is going to survive long enough to kick our collective rears: entitlement.
Before I wander through the explanation here, Seip wasn’t being entitled, he was referencing the entitlement that apparently caused problems during one of the previous COVID-19 waves at local arenas.
Seip’s statement came during a discussion about the need for more staff at local community centres. Even without the regulations required due to the pandemic, the centres would need more staff to keep them operational for the long hours that local winter sports teams and groups need. However, with the need to confirm vaccination status for everyone entering the facility, the problem will be compounded.
See, as of Sept. 22, North Huron set the rules for using community centres, which means the majority of people entering
centres for sports activities need to provide proof of full vaccination and photo identification.
There are exceptions (several classes of people not entering as patrons of the facility, children under 12 and others), however, the safe rule of thumb is that you should bring either your photo identification and vaccine proof or a medical exemption from a doctor or registered nurse if you plan on attending a community centre.
Seip pointed out that, during the previous waves, people who were asked similar questions about COVID-19 exposure were,
in their responses, rude or worse to the people trying to keep those in the facilities safe. The problem was so drastic that Seip suggested council consider hiring security personnel (which staff said would cost $5,000 per week) to be paid out of COVID-19 funding.
Moreover, Seip said that every person collecting that kind of information should be given his phone number so he can deal with any problems that arise, instead of having staff deal with them.
It was in that moment that the glimmer of hope that had blossomed over two months was unceremoniously snuffed out because I realized that no matter what gains we make, there will always be people who will make everything about themselves, and that’s what’s going to keep the pandemic going.
Heck, this even goes beyond that. This isn’t about vaccination or even wearing a mask, it’s about treating people with a little bit of respect. Most people have a job to do and in almost all of those jobs there are high points and low points. Me? I hate covering vehicle collisions. On what is possibly someone’s worst day, I’m there with camera in-hand waiting patiently so I can take a photo that won’t include an injured (or worse) person that I pray won’t make the next week’s edition. I know I look like a ghoul and I hate it. I’m not just saying that either, I’ve been on the other side. A few years back I was in a collision that resulted in my car being written off and you better believe journalists were there, so I know just how their presence can make a bad situation feel worse.
While I’m not saying that making sure people are vaccinated is akin to witnessing life-threatening or life-changing accidents,
I’m saying the staff that will have to handle it probably wish they were doing something else. I’m also saying people shouldn’t treat the staff members like they make the rules.
So you know what, mask or no mask, vaccinated or risking not only your own health but everyone’s around you, be a decent human being to those people who are just doing their jobs.