Say goodbye to Halloween and autumn festivities

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Photo by Candice Yin

As the second wave of COVID-19 continues to roll across Ontario, our ability to adhere to society’s new social distancing practices is being put to the test.

With confirmed daily cases on the rise, testing centres becoming overrun and hospitals filling up once again as the second wave makes itself known, it’s clear that the strict quarantine and social distancing rules we’ve all become familiar with earlier this year must be put back into place.

Even in the wake of October’s autumn festivals, we must refrain from physically taking part in social activities.

These concerns were cemented in a recent news release from the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). “Without public health measures in place to limit opportunities for disease transmission, Ontario will soon see higher numbers of hospitalizations, admissions to intensive care units and more deaths.”

With the advent of mask regulations in public spaces, people have begun to develop a passive attitude toward social distancing; many have started to think that as long as they wear a mask, they can be near as many people as they want. 

But wearing a mask is not enough. Practicing social distancing and remaining at least six feet away from others at all times is the only way to guarantee that bacteria and germs will not be spread from one person to another.

Anthony Dale, the OHA president, stressed that, “In order to keep schools open, protect our province’s most vulnerable, and conserve our health system’s limited resources, stronger restrictions are needed now.”

As October continues and the call of pumpkin festivals, corn mazes, haunted houses and Halloween parties entices us to venture outside, we must remain strong-willed and continue to social distance—of course, this is much easier said than done.

I myself am especially disappointed that the normal autumn festivals will be put on the backburner this year. Enjoying such activities in the crisp October air under the canopy of red, orange and yellow leaves has always been the best part about fall, but this year those festivities will just have to be put on hold.

Because ultimately, the reward for social distancing will be greater than the immediate satisfaction of participation. If we continue to stay home and try to once again flatten the curve, the global pandemic will be over that much quicker. 

The longer we ignore social distancing rules and contribute to an increase in daily cases, the longer we will continue to be stuck inside. 

We did it once before and we can do it again. Back in March and April—when the quarantine first began—adhering to strict social distancing rules did have a significant effect on decreasing confirmed cases in Ontario. 

As the second wave rears its ugly head and the number of victims the virus claims is predicted to surpass that of the first wave, the need for people to stay home is stronger than ever. 

Participating in autumn festivities is ultimately irresponsible and ill-advised as it puts both yourself and others at risk of getting sick and extending the quarantine.

The important thing to remember is that social distancing does not have to equal social isolation. There are many alternatives you can participate in when physical festivities are no longer an option.a

Numerous small businesses—who have been hit especially hard by the closing of the province’s economy—have expanded their social media platforms to include online shopping, delivery, and giveaways. 

Ordering locally and helping to spread the word for these small shops gives back to those families who are struggling and can additionally offer unique gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Streaming sites offer services which allow you to engage in activities with your friends while remaining socially distanced. The most popular one—Netflix Party—allows you to watch movies on a synched screen with dozens of other users simultaneously. 

Doing so encourages groups of friends to chat and continue their scary-movie marathons while still being responsible and keeping each other safe. 

It is safe to say that quarantine has successfully gotten under everyone’s skin, but in order to keep people safe, to avoid the inflation of confirmed cases as seen in the United States, to support our hospitals and health care staff who are working tirelessly, it is a necessary burden that we must all bear together. 


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