/Stage 2 

Stage 2 

By Chad Ingram

Semblances of pre-COVID-19 life arebeginning to appear here and there as the provincial government allows aregional phased re-opening of some businesses throughout Ontario.

And while I don't mean to downplay thecontinuing danger posed by the coronavirus or the risk of a second wave thosebits of normalcy are a welcome sight.

Last week in regions outside the province'surban areas Haliburton County among them a number of businesses werepermitted to reopen or expand their operations. County residents can now get ahaircut. And on the patios of downtown Minden? People. Real live human beings.A once completely typical sight that now seems a bit surreal.

It's a beautiful day and just now Ireturned from eating my lunch in a park. There was a couple sitting on a benchin the shade children playing in the water and a man walking his dog. It feltalmost normal. It was nice.

Things are of course not normal and we'restill a long way from being through this pandemic. Patios may be open buttables are spaced farther apart servers and some patrons are wearing facemasks. So is your barber. Some of these things may end up becoming part ofwhatever the new post-COVID-19 normal is. Many of us are now long-used to someform of Plexiglas shield being part of almost any business.

This Friday a number of other more urbanareas of the province will also be permitted to enter Stage 2 includingHamilton Durham Region York Region and Niagara. In fact after this weekonly Windsor-Essex Peel Region which includes Brampton and Mississauga andthe metropolis of Toronto will remain in Stage 1. There are some who believethe re-openings are too much too quickly and that at this rate a second waveof the virus sweeping across Ontario is basically inevitable.

Like so many aspects of this crisis onlytime will tell. Certainly in terms of the county it seems reasonable to saythat we've done a good job of abiding by public health guidelines and keepingnumbers down. In the three months since the crisis hit the province the countyhas logged just eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 all of them now consideredresolved.

That of course doesn't mean we can let ourguard down. As more businesses reopen it means that more and more of us aregoing to be venturing out into the world more often. It's still important thatwe stay away from one another wash our hands maniacally and abide whateverother physical distancing protocols may be in place at the places we visit.

Summer will officially arrive in a fewdays and while it certainly won't be a typical summer in the county it willbe summer just the same. Enjoy it. Safely. Take care of each other.