Connecting in a Time of Coronavirus

“Be kind, stay calm, stay safe:” Message written in multicoloured chalk on the Byron Path – D. Deby photo

I hope you’re staying safe and healthy in these strange and stressful times.

Thoughts to everyone who is going through illness, isolation, fear, loss of income, difficulty obtaining services, or other challenges. Thanks to all who are working to keep everyone healthy.

One thing that’s struck me is how under a pandemic that affects us all, each of us may be having a different experience. Some people are dealing with isolation or boredom; some are supporting kids, elders, other loved ones; some are struggling to maintain mental wellness; for some, challenges include accessing food, shelter, income, outdoor spaces, or health services, and/or dealing with inequities that are exacerbated by the COVID-19 situation; many are putting themselves at risk to provide essential services.

All the more reason to “practice physical distancing but maintain social connection.” We need each other in a time of coronavirus, whether that happens online or by phone, greeting others from a safe distance on outdoor walks, volunteering or donating if circumstances permit, or sharing in other ways.

It’s impressive how many individuals, groups, businesses, institutions and leaders in our city (and elsewhere) have stepped up to the challenge of supporting others through the pandemic. Of course, we’re learning as we go, and there’s much more to do.

I share the hope and intention of others to build from this crisis a different, new, supportive and sustainable way of living together as a community and society. More on that later. For now, here are some links that might be helpful if you haven’t seen them:

Updates on the pandemic, public health measures being taken and supports available:

Ways to get help or support others:

Ways to shop and support local businesses:

Ways to support access to local outdoor and green spaces:

  • Ecology Ottawa’s petition asking Ottawa’s Mayor and City Council to adapt selected Ottawa streets for pedestrians and cyclists, so residents can safely maintain physical distancing
  • Policing the Pandemic project that is mapping patterns of enforcement related to COVID-19 measures (e.g. bylaws regarding use of public spaces, and their enforcement) and effects on marginalized people
  • Community campaigns to address discrimination and bias in the implementation and enforcement of public health measures (e.g. a school trustee’s harassment of a Black student in a local park)

Please share other useful links in the comments if you have them.

Take care and be well.

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