Courier editorial – Real clothes, no masks, and jumping the gun in N.B.

It was a strange week. For the first time since March 2020, I attended several events in person, and I’m still not certain how I feel about it. I’m rusty, I know that. I found myself fiddling with my camera settings, once I was able to use the camera, having forgotten to put the freshly charged battery in it prior to heading to one event on Saturday, and not quite getting the shot I was hoping for. I ineptly fumbled around while attempting to change lenses, and discovered glasses, a mask, and holding a camera up to your face simply doesn’t work; something has to give. Despite being fully vaccinated, being maskless left me feeling vulnerable.

I spoke, face-to-face, with more people since Thursday evening than I quite literally have since the start of the pandemic, and forgot how tiring simply standing and socializing can be.

Post New Brunswick Day celebrations Monday, I was knackered. I speculate it will take longer than I considered to get back in this game. And a game it is.

From one perspective, I acknowledge it’s good for me to leave the house and the dogs, which have become more than a security blanket, and as I admitted to a friend with whom I attended the grand opening of Char and Chowder in Saint Andrews, it was probably good for me to have to put on “real” clothes and abandon my uniform of leggings and hoodie which I’ve donned for these 18 months.

But the truth is this; much as it is good to leave the “compound” as I call my home, and to engage with actual humans, and put on real clothes, I think New Brunswick has jumped the gun with the full reopening of the province.

Over the weekend we went from almost zero cases of COVID-19 to 37, and while statistically it’s a negligible number it comes not far off the heels of the provincial border restrictions being removed at the end of June.

I understand and support the reasons we have spun to Green and being fully reopened, but cannot help but fell we’ve skipped a step along the way. There should have been a light green phase, where we were open, and gatherings allowed etc., but still wear masks and physically distance whenever possible.

And while I’m comforted by the large number of people I saw wearing masks at the various events I attended over the last few days, I worry we may be in for a spike in cases as all restrictions were abandoned. The spike in cases over the weekend shows the virus is very much still in the province. I hope I’m wrong, but fear I’m right.

Krisi Marples