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Jody Vance: If you won’t stay home for you, stay home for people on the front lines.

These surreal times continue to impact our society’s most vulnerable.

You may jump to the conclusion I’m referring to those living in poverty, but today at least, I’m not. The crisis level at-risk citizens group has grown exponentially in this time of COVID-19.

Today, we’re talking about frontline healthcare workers – nurses, doctors, first responders, research scientists, orderlies, janitors, and more. Today, we’re talking about the hardworking grocery clerks and cashiers showing up each day to stock shelves. The factory workers. The utility workers.

While we’re all faced with challenges and worry, they have the compounded responsibility of carrying on with their work so the rest of us can safely isolate.

Each day, the message gets a little more terse.

Daily, our prime minister steps to the podium outside his cottage, where his wife is recovering from COVID-19. For weeks now he has consistently implored Canadians to stay home.

Each day, the message gets a little more terse.

Over and over and over again, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam has begged Canadians daily to “plank the curve by physically distancing, and social isolating.”

Our inimitable provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is a full month into daily reiteration of the message: “wash hands, don’t touch your face, stay home. STAY HOME.”

Dr. Henry says “Yes, you can go for a walk — but you need to stay six feet away from all others, not touch your face and wash your hands well as soon as you return home. Then stay home.”

The above all have a very different message for those returning from anywhere abroad — anywhere outside Canada.

There is no Middle on rules surrounding quarantine after travel. It’s astounding how many push back, and not to their credit. Back to the first line of this column, your 14 day sacrifice will save lives of our most vulnerable.

So, here’s a refresher.

If you are returning from anywhere outside of Canada (a n y w h e r e) you must go directly from the airport, ship, train, bus, or border crossing to your home and stay there.

Things you do not do:

  • Do not stop for supplies at the store
  • Do not grab take out
  • Do not go to the kennel to get the family pet
  • Do not stop — anywhere — nope, not the liquor store either.
  • JUST GO HOME AND STAY THERE.
  • Do not have people over
  • Do not leave your home for any reason
  • Stay home
  • Don’t leave
  • Don’t just pop out
  • STAY HOME

To be clear: go home. Stay home. Do not leave your home for 14 days. No leaving, at all, for 14. That’s the directive. This is not optional. This is not a drill.

After 14 days, you get to do what the rest of us are mandated to do — that includes luxuries such as getting outside each day and getting some exercise/fresh air. We can go to the store, while social distancing, and take care of essential errands. After that, we go home and (you guessed it) stay home.

This is not optional. This is not a drill.

We are all being asked to NOT socialize, except virtually, and to stick with just our immediate circle or family who likewise promise to be with none other than you through this.

If you’re looking for a historic reference, try this one: the AIDS crisis. When we learned that unprotected sex with one partner was putting you at risk of any infection from every past partner of theirs? Similar lines drawn here — only now you have to stay six feet away.

My folks are currently seven days into their post-Palm Springs mandatory self isolation. If they can do this, so can you.

Our worst case quarantine scenario is a dream for our society’s most vulnerable. While millions of Canadian hunker down in our homes and filling time with streaming shows or gaming or puzzles or cleaning, many others have get to up each day and head out into harm’s way to keep us safe. Staying home is literally the least we can do.

I will be on my front door step each evening at 7:00pm to applaud these heroes. Then, I will go inside and stay there. Be well.

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:

SWIM ON