Letter to the editor – Social Distancing

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Dear Editor,

Back in May I read an article by Josh Pringle, of CTV News, regarding comments made by Doug Struthers, Mayor of Merrickville, May 10th 2020 asking visitors to respect COVID-19 pandemic measures. In which, Mayor Struthers said “Merrickville is not the place to come and think boy let’s go there and do a walkabout”. “That’s not what we’re open for. We’re open for the businesses that are allowed to open and have curbside pickup”. “A lot of people that were not understanding you can’t wander around. Our streets are not here for getting your daily healthy exercise”.

Here we are almost three weeks later and yesterday, Sunday, I decided to have a change of scenery knowing that restrictions are being slowly lifted but the safety protocols are still in place. I had a walk around away from the Main Street where there were few people and those I met respected physical distancing. Then I decided to go to Main Street to a store to buy something that I haven’t been able to get in Kemptville.

There it was a totally different experience, it was very busy, as it usually is in Summer and at Christmas, with people totally ignoring physical distancing, stopping and chatting, not wearing masks, to others and blocking the sidewalk. I felt very uncomfortable but put my mask on and ventured into the store. It was posted on the door regarding the number of customers permitted at one time but no one was monitoring it. Most of the customers were young males, none with masks, who were ignoring the 6ft spacing markings on the floor. When I went to the cashier the guys behind me proceeded to put their items onto the conveyor belt before I had moved forward. I turned and made a comment about staying 6ft feet back and they looked at me in total surprise but did say “sorry”. On leaving town I stopped at the chip wagon where good safety protocol was being implemented. The fries were great and I might go back for them in a few weeks time but not for anything else. Hopefully Merrickville councilors will realise that this is not acceptable and do something about it so that we will be able to return to visiting the ‘Jewel on the Rideau’.

Nick Brooks
Kemptville

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