As we enter midsummer, and the fifth full month living in a COVID-19 world, it seems like some of us are forgetting first principles about stopping the spread of the virus. A joint statement from Mayor Cam Guthrie and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer is asking Guelphites to remember that there is such a thing as the “new normal” and that everyone still has to follow the advice of public health to slow the spread of COVID.
“The launch of our Downtown Dining District and our ability to gather together at local restaurants is a great sign of our progress toward this goal,” the statement read. “Over the weekend, however, we have seen troubling reports that some people visiting restaurants and other commercial establishments around town (especially those where alcohol is served) are not doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Earlier this month, the Downtown Dining District was opened at the corner of Wyndham and Macdonell Streets, and it has been heralded as an exciting step forward in re-opening the local economy while observing physical distancing protocols.
The exuberance of being able to meet up with friends and family in-person seems to have made some people take leave of their senses though. Reports posted to social media sites over the weekend (including the picture above that was posted on the “Overheard at Guelph” Facebook page) have expressed concerns about overcrowding in the district, and not much mask wearing to go along with it.
“We know what works; our progress over the past few weeks is proof than we can reduce the spread of this virus,” the statement said. “Now more than ever, we need to remain vigilant. Wash your hands, stay at least six feet away from people outside your household or social circle, and wear a mask when you’re asked to. These are simple things we can all do, and they’ve gotten us this far. Let’s keep the momentum going.”
The current state of COVID-19 in Wellington, Dufferin, and Guelph is 27 active cases, with just one new case declared in today’s update from Public Health; there are 14 active cases of the virus in Guelph alone. The total number of COVID cases since the start of the pandemic in March is 525, with 461 resolved cases, and 37 total fatalities, which is a number that’s been unchanged since last month.
Concerns about people’s behaviour in the Dining District come at roughly the same time that other City of Guelph facilities look to open their doors to the general public again. In the last week, both the Guelph Civic Museum and the Guelph Public Library have announced their intention to have a (limited) re-opening in August.