A sign in the window of a shop in downtown Juneau informs customers of rules for entering the business on Dec. 15, 2020. On Monday the City and Borough of Juneau announced it was relaxing some of the restrictions on businesses as the spread of COVID-19 in the community had decreased. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Playing the game

Last week, we said goodbye and good riddance to 2020.

The year whose second day spurred fears of a third World War after Iranian General Qasswem Soleimani was killed via United States military drone strike by orders from President Donald Trump and led to Australia calling a third state of emergency in New South Wales due to bushfires on the south coast.

Just a few days later, on Jan. 7, the World Health Organization was notified of the novel coronavirus, known at the time as 2019-nCoV, in China.

Year after year, ringing in the new year is a happy celebration — it was last as we welcomed 2020. And many of us are happy to see 2020 come to an end.

We’re tired, bored and sick of hearing about the pandemic.

COVID-19 has messed with our sports, nights out, birthday parties, high school graduation, post-secondary experiences and holiday celebrations. Some of us haven’t seen loved ones in months.

After a bit of reprieve in the summer, restrictions have become tougher, as masks are required in almost every public situation, and gatherings are virtually (no pun intended) non-existent.

We’re sick of hearing about case numbers, deaths, cancellations and more rules. Pandemic burnout is real.

But shouldn’t let that apathy get the best of us.

Our governments and top health officials have enacted these guidelines and restrictions in an effort to stop the spread of a contagious disease. The death toll may not be as high as those in the past, like the 1918 Spanish flu, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat it as a similar threat, and reports of the possible long-term complications are scary.

Tomorrow (Jan. 8) the Government of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Officer will review the province-wide restrictions implemented on Nov. 19, 2020. At that time it will be decided whether to roll some back, keep the status-quo or bring in harsher regulations.

If we want to see some semblance of normalcy by the end of this year, we have to play the game. No one enjoys wearing masks. None of us want to stand two metres away from our friends and loved ones. Our hands are raw from consistent hand washing and sanitizer.

But if we play the game now, just for a little while, we could sooner return to Canada Day fireworks, watching our children walk the stage in person at their graduation, travel the world and enjoy the holidays. If not, we could expect these restrictions to continue indefinitely.

It just takes a bit of empathy, selflessness and sacrifice, as we really are in this together.

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