NOVEMBER 28, 2020 – So I went to Costco yesterday for the first time in over a decade. There wasn’t a huge line as it was early in the morning so I thought I’d chance it.
I bought the high end membership took my cart and entered the store.
Everyone was masked up. There were staff at the doors.
What there wasn’t was social distancing. Nada, nothing. It was utter mayhem, including staff. Frankly it didn’t feel safe.
Personally I didn’t see a lot of value or certainly enough for my personal shopping needs. That’s not a dis on Costco. They’re a great company.
After trying to get through checkout I pulled a staffer over, gave them my cart and said I’m leaving. I went to the counter and was cheerfully refunded my membership swearing to myself that I’d never return. And I won’t most likely. Certainly not during Covid.
Once in the safety of my vehicle I started to think about “the bigger picture”.
The Anti Mask crowd is screaming how “how unfair” it is for small business than bigger business. Emotionally I get that as I own a small business and have for most of my adult life.
My first thought is that if not for masks there’d be a ton of Covid-19 cases at Costco. But here’s the thing, since they embraced mandatory facemasks with no exemptions how many cases have we read of infection there?
Hi ceilings. Good ventilation are great things that most small stores can’t compete with. The biggest risk is check out as standing in line is high risk even with masks. Costco, at least the day I was there, could do more to improve that. Bottom line the amount of people that shop in big box stores vs cases caused is dramatically lower and of lower risks generally than small stores.
Most small stores don’t have the capacity or budget to take the steps to compete with the safety that big box stores can. Anecdotally, right here in Cornwall the outbreaks of Walmart store appear to be because of their local culture of staff not wearing masks until the store opens. Again, wear the mask and would they have have those cases.
We clearly know now that Covid is aerosol borne. It rides our exhales seeking victims to infect. Limit the aerosol and you limit exposure. Limit exposure you limit cases. Limit cases and our healthcare system can be more able to help patients and our economy can stay open.
Aerosols can linger from 30 minutes to hours. That’s why we have to enforce staff from removing their masks, especially at their work stations. Need a sip of water? Go in back. Phone rings. Talk through your mask. There are better masks now. I wear a KN95. So does Angela Merkel. They cost less than 40 cents if you shop well.
It’s also why at this time, any activity that allows you to remove your mask in contact with others, even outside of 2M is high risk. It’s science. It’s not open to debate. That means most indoor drinking and eating are not safe.
Long-range transmission – COVID-19 in small droplets and particles can sometimes be ‘airborne’ (see definition above): Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours (>30 minutes to multiple hours). These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the infected person or after that person has left the space. Factors affecting the airborne spread of COVID-19 [further than 6-feet-away] according to the U.S. CDC include: a) enclosed spaces; b) Inadequate ventilation or air handling that allowed a build-up of suspended small respiratory droplets and particles; c) prolonged exposure to respiratory particles; d) infected person may have been breathing heavily; e) people who become infected in the same space at the same time with infected person or in the space shortly after the infected person departed. LINK
What we do need is clear language. And enforcement. We need stores fined for violating Covid emergency orders, and we need protesters charged, especially if they are travelling to protests from outside their regions.
It’s time to make clear laws:
For example, ZERO EXEMPTIONS for the wearing of 3 ply plus masks. If you are too ill to wear a slip of paper to shop then it’s time for you to not shop. Someone that sick needs assistance and it’s critical to get them that assistance, but the system cannot afford to treat someone that sick for covid or possibly have them spread the virus. This also includes face shields which really don’t count unless you’re wearing a mask too.
Protests have to be capped if they occur at all. Protesters need to wear masks and social distance like for example the law states in Quebec.
As well if you participate in a rally you must quarantine for 14 days after.
This isn’t about infringing on people’s rights, certainly not their charter rights. This is about the duty of the government to protect the public in a health crisis. You can still protest online. Have a zoom protest with 10,000 people. Nobody will get covid from that.
Again, a lot of the problems we’re dealing with in Ontario and Canada are because the government has used wishy washy language and not even then enforced it’s limp protection laws.
The public deserves a pat on the back, not for being afraid of Covid-19, but simply having the common sense over all to take the steps to protect themselves and their communities.
The fact that stores like Food Basics, Dollarama, or No Frills in Cornwall reward law abiding customers by putting them at risk letting in people without masks or wearing them under their noses and refusing to even communicate with them about it is an indictment against them. It’s something they should all be fined and punished for.
At the end day there is common ground. Everyone wants stores open. Everybody wants to be with their loved ones; go to the gym, the movies, bars, restaurants, etc.
But the only way we can do that is by doing what science has shown us about viruses like Covid 19 historically and making sure that those the refuse to do so are sanctioned and prevented for continued actions putting us at risk.
It’s not complicated. It just takes our government to do what they are paid to do. Govern according to the laws of the land which they have the power to make and change.
And that brings us to Randy Hillier. A sitting MPP in Ontario using his power of office and resources leading dangerous campaigns across Ontario that clearly violate our public health measures and orders.
Sadly Premier Ford has only now allowed Hillier to be charged. Sadly because of this long delay Mr. Hillier has coagulated a group of fellow law breakers who without doubt clearly are putting the public at risk. Singing the national anthem in tight space without masks? Even after being given his first ticket he’s still steaming along stating that he will appear in court without a mask and is still promoting new events.
Frankly this man and his circle are domestic terrorists. They are purposely taking actions that could cause disease and death. There is no defense or rational that a reasonable person would accept. There has not been a single attempt to ask their follower to wear mask and take basic protection while travelling around our province putting many communities at risk. Anything less than a jail sentence is a complete and utter injustice.
The message this sends to the public and damage done to our system by the repeated lies and rhetoric spouted by these Anti Maskers hurt all of us and strain our healthcare and law enforcement systems and put our front line essential workers also at risk.
In life you fix problems before they become what we now are facing. TV coverage of restaurant owners get spun far out of context and create stress in the community that should never have happened.
It’s time for governments to communicate far better with the public and take the steps to protect everyone, even misguided and ignorant anti maskers.
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