Is it going to take a lockdown to keep us safe here in Muskoka?
Just My Opinion - Ruby Truax
This past weekend may have been a harbinger of what’s to come. All the grocery store parking lots were full. Many of the vehicles were obviously owned by seasonal residents here to open their cottages: rooftop carriers, hatchbacks full of luggage and household supplies, even a vehicle towing a boat. Some people were lined up in family groups waiting to get into the stores. Some emerged from the stores with two carts overfilled with groceries and supplies.
All this in spite of directives from our local Mayors, our Premier, the Ontario Ministry of Health and even the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada to stay home at our principle residence during this outbreak, and not come to the cottage.
But too many people seem to think this doesn’t apply to them.
At the time of this writing, we’ve had only twelve confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Muskoka. Nine of those people have already recovered, two are still self-isolating, and one has died. The man who died was a seasonal resident who was staying at his second home in Muskoka Lakes.
I believe that the reason we have such low numbers in Muskoka is because we, both individuals and businesses, have been diligent about following best practices, including social distancing and hygiene. We’ve put our lives on hold for the greater good. Having people come into our communities from ‘hot zones’, acting as though these safety measures don’t apply to them, makes me fear that we’re going to see a surge in Covid-19 cases within the next two weeks.
I hope I’m wrong.
But this blatant disregard for the recommendations of all levels of government, these large gatherings at cottages, campfires during the fire ban, and frequent, non-essential excursions from the cottage, increase the risk of not only contracting the virus but spreading it.
What can we do to protect ourselves? Should we be asking our provincial government for a lockdown of Muskoka to ensure that people remain in their permanent residences? Appealing to their sense of community responsibility doesn’t seem to be working for those who insist that it is their “right” to come and go from their home and cottage as they please.
One thing is certain: we can’t allow this to continue, particularly with the May 24th weekend looming. If it does, things could get very bad in Muskoka.