Column: Expanding our bubbles with abundant caution

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

By Nan Dickie

Contributor

The thing we are most certain about going through this pandemic week after week is the fact that uncertainty reigns in our individual and collective lives.

We are allowing ourselves finally, gradually, to think about where we might be in two months from now. Dr. Bonnie Henry has given us this hope, with abundant caution.

Last week, Dr. Henry invited us to very carefully expand our bubble.We can now, with due care and diligence, invite some close others into our personal space.

Some businesses will probably be opening in the not too distant future with very prescribed rules for safety. This will be a huge relief to workers, customers, clients—in fact to all of us. These moves are, on the one hand, a welcome opening up. On the other, for many people, it is increasing their anxiety about catching the virus.

Until last week, what we needed to do was abundantly clear, and what I have seen is that almost everyone has been following the rules handed down by public health authorities completely, explicitly. There were no half-measures, or “It would be a good idea if….”

There was comfort in knowing exactly what to do, and not to do, to minimize the spread of the virus. Decisions were made for us, and we followed through, willingly, but not without great effort to accommodate them.

We did it. We are now entering a long phase of “in between.” We know where we have been. We’ve witnessed a flattening of the curve in British Columbia. We see new political, economic, educational and social measures being put in place to slowly move our individual and collective lives ahead.

Read more: Column: What we are now experiencing is grief

Read more: Column: Running a long marathon no one asked to take part in

But so much remains unknown. No one can assure us (and no one is trying to do so) that, if we expand our bubbles, and increase business and other activities in the community, the numbers of people who become ill with COVID-19 will be reduced.

There is no crystal ball.

No one says we have to expand our bubbles. No one says at this time that businesses must open at any particular time.

We are each faced with two big questions at this time: “Should I?” and “What if?” How does one make the decision to widen one’s life at this time, or return to work?

It boils down to each of us making as wise decisions as we are able during this uncertain time. We base our individual decisions on what we hear from public health officials, and our own level of worry and anxiety.

This is a very challenging balancing act that we each face.

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