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Get loud

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Jody Vance: One great and cathartic daily must-do is the 7:00 pm celebration for frontline essential service workers.

Each night the tribute grows. British Columbians bang pots and pans, hoot and holler at 7pm, all to honour those who stand in the way of this unknown foe, COVID-19.

Over the last two weeks, our respective agendas have been unceremoniously, and quite frighteningly, wiped clean like never before. Leaders calling for calm, workers sent home and told to stay there, many laid off or worse. The overwhelming majority of us went from juggling work and family life, now to the upside-down bizarro world we now identify as COVID-19.

This is our society two weeks into a pandemic.

So, as we all commit unwaveringly to social distancing (newly-dubbed the far more literal physical distancing), staying home we will promise to sit tight as the bravest of the brave battle back against this virus.

Think about how much our lives have changed. Now think of the frontline workers. They are experiencing the same overwhelming impact of a global pandemic PLUS seeing COVID-19 ramp up their day-to-day in unimaginable ways.

Think of the masked heroes standing fearlessly in emergency rooms and intensive care units across BC. Better yet, thank them.

We are all staying home for them. That’s why. Tell your friends. Tell everyone.

Today in this extra edition of The Middle, please indulge my need to add to our list of front lines. There are unsung humans emerging all over society, selflessly stepping up to protect and support their fellow humans.

The grocery store clerks and cashiers (please don’t be short with them and give them physical distance). The pharmacy workers now anointed with the responsibility of refilling your most urgent medical needs. The GP who can now take your concerns over the phone (with an appointment) to take the stress off 811. And on, and on.

Think of what we take for granted here: utilities; veterinarians; IT; truckers who bring our goods to market. You get it, right?

Today I ask that we add to the list of heroes to get loud for at 7pm. Please honour those in our care homes, the aides, nurses, cooks and janitors — the stoic support system who specialize in continued normalcy, care, and comfort for our elders.

It’s so sad to know the outbreaks in care homes are this era’s Ground Zero – and yet we see stories of volunteers stepping up to help. Imagine, now, if your agenda included having your temperature taken twice daily, to see if you might need a COVID-19 test to continue to do your job? That’s the reality for care workers at an ever-growing list of homes.

As I’ve written before, my Dad is in a care home. He isn’t at the hardest hit in Lynn Valley — but he could just as easily be. The residents there are him. They’re your loved one. Despite more positive COVID-19 tests in residents and care workers, the support system is undeterred. The staff are harrowingly unwavering. It floors me when I think of those frontliners.

So, when our family steps out on our front stoop each night at 7:00pm to make noise for Frontline Workers, we acknowledge that ever-growing list — and send our sincere gratitude.

The frontline healthcare workers salute at our front door started out of a want to let those masked heroes know we are with them and we appreciate them. It happens at 7:00 pm because that’s typically shift change time in hospitals, but it has become so much more.

As we consider life during this pandemic, we must talk about WHY we stay home. These people are the WHY. It’s to save them, so they can save us.

Here’s the drill:

  • Set a reminder for 6:55pm
  • Have pots, pans and wooden spoons at the ready.
  • At 6:59pm step onto your patio, front door, or open window.
  • At the stroke of 7:00pm, BANG for one minute.

This nightly celebration is a bonding experience. Let’s make it even bigger, even broader. Anyone leaving for work during this pandemic — our noisy 7:00pm is for you.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

SWIM ON:

  • Earlier this week, Jody Vance had an unambiguous message: STAY HOME.
  • Staying home seems to be working. We just have to keep doing it.
  • Your daily dose of non-Coronavirus content: Ada Slivinski notes that studies indicate too much screen time is rewiring our brains – you need to log off. (After you click and read several more Orca articles, obviously.)
SWIM ON