Clearly, these are challenging times for all of us. Our world is more interconnected than ever, making facing a pandemic like COVID-19 unprecedented in human history. First and foremost, our task is to avoid overwhelming the health care system by minimizing the number of cases that require intensive intervention. We will accomplish this by physically distancing ourselves and taking measures, such as washing our hands thoroughly, to protect ourselves and others.
Still, we must also maintain community and social cohesion in the midst of this physical distancing. There will be hardship beyond the obvious health care crisis. Small businesses will suffer and individuals will lose their jobs. These things are already happening. Churches cannot be the centres of community that they have been, and many will miss that social and spiritual time each week. The effects will also be felt by service clubs and charitable organizations, who may see their contributions decrease and their ability to help others suffer.
The way we conduct ourselves during this time as individuals, businesses and institutions will affect how we are viewed in the future. We have an instinct for self-preservation such that fear and uncertainty can bring out the worst in us. There will be a time when life regains a sense of normalcy, but it will not be the same for everyone, and normal will not return for all of us. While we know that we’re all in this together, that can be something of a cold comfort when the future holds such uncertainty for many of us individually.
However, residents of Woolwich and Wellesley townships have always supported each other, and will continue to do so now. Spend money, if you can, with your local businesses. Support your local charities so that the most vulnerable community members can get help. If what you have to give right now is time, use your time to shop for elderly neighbours, and check in with friends and family. Even just saying hello from a distance can help. If you need help, seek it. There are people here to support you.
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As we progress through this state of emergency, The Observer is here to tell your stories. We are a community newspaper, and our focus is on you. We will be here to make sure you have information about help that is available in the community. We also want to know the positive things you see happening around you. How are you staying connected with others? Send us information about the ways people are coping during this time.
Be generous where you can. Be empathetic to those around you. Please, do your part to keep your community, your family, and yourself healthy until this crisis subsides, as it certainly will.
Joe Merlihan, Publisher