Well, how is everyone doing these days? I must say, living through a period of history is an interesting experience. In this past week, we’ve had notice of the first person to have a confirmed case of covid-19. Somewhere in the Lanark, Leeds & Grenville region, a woman in her 70’s returned from a prolonged stay in New York and was found to have the virus. She is in isolation, and those she was in contact with since her return are being traced and tested too.
Canadians in general seem to be taking the warnings of the federal government a bit more seriously than they first did, and the actions of both federal and provincial governments seem to be making a difference to the situation, especially when we compare the state of affairs in Canada to those in other countries.
There is always a two-day gap between this newspaper going to the printers and when it is delivered to your mailbox, so things will have changed since this was written. It is inevitable that more cases will be confirmed and, sadly, more deaths will have occurred between today, Sunday, and the day of delivery. But, with around 5,500 confirmed cases across the country, and a death toll of 60, Canada is actually faring far better than countries with a lower population. For example, in my homeland of Ireland, with a population of just five million, there have been around 2,500 confirmed cases and 36 deaths. All of this pales, of course, in comparison with the United States, Italy and Spain.
So, well done to all who are taking responsibility in these days for keeping their family, friends and neighbours as safe as possible. And many, many thanks to all those who continue to work on a front line that has expanded from medics and nurses, to include truck drivers, retail and res- taurant workers, those who keep us supplied with food, take-outs and coffee. There is no joke in staying at your post to keep people with some semblance of normality, somewhere to go to keep some of the daily routines intact.
People have wondered about keeping the LCBO open, or for allowing coffee shops to continue operating. But there are some who would be deeply affected by cutting off alcohol, and not just the addicted. There is a psychological need for us to get outside now and then, and a walk to the store or restaurant meets a real need.
Here at the Times, we realised that delivery day this month was on April 1, and we wondered about lightening the mood a bit by printing some April Fool’s joke, as we did in 2015. We announced that the Municipality of North Grenville has decided to open a restaurant in the Municipal Centre as an alternate source of revenue in the wake of public opposition to the recent 6% tax increase. Although many other options had been considered, it was finally decided to open a rib-centred facility, to be called “The 6% Solution”. But it seemed inappropriate to repeat that kind of joke this year, under the circumstances. There is already enough rumour and incipient paranoia being displayed on Facebook and other sites.
It is hard to realise that it is only a couple of weeks since I wondered in these pages whether or not we might be over-reacting to the situation by imposing restrictions on peoples movements and freedoms. I hold my hand up now and admit that I was rather naive at the time. It is staggering how quickly things have happened since then. There are, of course, problems with what the governments, federally and provincially, have done in that regard. But personal freedoms may be limited if we understand the need, and the temporary nature of those limits.
It is more important that people are protected than that I can go to the movies, or go for a pint with friends. This, too, will pass.
A word of thanks to all our advertisers. We fully un- derstand that many businesses cannot advertise when they cannot continue in business. Thanks for your past and, hopefully, future support. Many thanks also to those who continue to help us publish the Times by continuing to advertise with us. A special thanks to the Municipality.
Those of us old enough to remember walking the streets in crowds demanding social change and respect for human rights, will be familiar with an old Christian hymn that Pete Seeger refreshed and brought to everyone’s attention. Its words are as relevant to us today as they ever were before:
We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day. Amen.