Cottagers - We're All In This Together, But Apart - Just My Opinion By Ruby Truax
A gentleman from Toronto, who has a cottage on an island here in Muskoka, posted that he and his wife would feel much safer self-isolating on the island than staying in Toronto, but they're hesitant to come here after reading some of our vitriolic comments about cottagers on social media. He posted that he and his wife have been self-isolating in Toronto for eight weeks now, only leaving the house for groceries and LCBO, so he's sure they haven't been infected. But as much as they'd like to move up here and ride out the pandemic in their summer residence, he feels that they would be "screamed at" if they went grocery shopping or had to buy building materials to do repairs and maintenance on the cottage.
That made me sad.
I think most of us understand that it's not folks like these seasonal residents who are a threat to our community's health. They live in our community too, so they have as much of a stake in our collective health as we do.
It's the "weekend warriors" that we're concerned about. People who come up here from "hot spots" in the city to escape for a couple of days and then head back. People who believe that, because our infection rate is so low in Muskoka, they're safe here, so they go about all their regular weekend activities, including hosting large gatherings and other reckless activities that put us all at increased risk.
I'd like to think that we're not hostile people here in Muskoka, but if anyone were likely to be "screamed at", it would be these weekend warrior types because they don't understand, or worse, don't care, that their reckless behaviour could well negate all the sacrifices we've made to keep our community safe.
What we need is stricter enforcement of the guidelines in place for our safety, to keep these weekend warriors in check. If they insist on traveling back and forth, as they have been for weeks now, they need to face strict penalties if they don't follow the safety guidelines we've been following ourselves. These measures have worked for us and are the reason we are relatively safe and healthy here in Muskoka.
So I felt compelled to respond to this gentleman's post. I urged him not to feel unwelcome here, but to come and stay at their cottage on the island where they will be much safer than in Toronto. I hope he and his wife do come for the season, and I hope they find that their fears about us locals were unfounded. We're all in this together, and we'll get through this together ... but apart.