It is strange to think that Victorians have been in lockdown for 10 weeks now. As of May 19th, B.C. has entered phase two of its four-phase plan to re-open our economy. Restaurants, libraries, hairdressers, museums, and cafes are able to open only if they can follow guidelines and restrictions and life seems to picking up the pace once again. Usually at this time of year with such great weather, Victorians would be flocking to parks, restaurants, pubs, and beaches, but it is much quieter this year. Although we may be missing big outings with friends, we can still gather in small groups. But we must remember that we aren’t out of the woods yet and we need to be prepared to respect social distancing guidelines. Here are some tips to keep yourself safe as we venture out of our homes.
Designated hours for seniors to shop across Victoria are: Country Grocer (7 am – 8 am), Shopper’s Drug Mart (first hour of opening), Quality Foods (7 am – 9 am), Costco (8 am – 9 am), Save-on-Foods (7 am – 8 am), Superstore (7 am – 8 am), Whole Foods (first hour of opening), and Red Barn Market (7 am – 8 am).
You will probably run into lines to get into the grocery stores, this is something we are not used to, but we will have to adapt. Hand sanitizer is usually provided at the front entrance but it is always a good idea to carry some on you.
In the grocery store be aware of the social distancing markers on the floor that separate you and the next person 6 feet apart.
Also be aware of the markers in the aisles telling you which direction to walk to avoid congestion.
Currently, you are not allowed to bring a reusable grocery bag into the store. It will have to be paper of plastic for now.
While some establishments are still accepting cash, most have switched to debit or credit only.
If you’re thinking of meeting a friend at the park, make sure you can sit 6 feet apart to follow health guidelines. A picnic in the park is great idea but do not share foods, drinks, or utensils.
In many areas of Victoria, pedestrian sidewalks have been temporarily expanded to make it easer to keep 6 feet apart.
In any social setting where it may be impossible to meet social distancing guidelines such as public transit or grocery stores, wearing a non-medical mask is recommended.
Hand washing is still the at the forefront of advice from health professionals to protect ourselves. Just as humans, we have a tendency to touch our faces so it is important to keep our hands clean. And as always, we are encouraged to cover our mouth when we cough, sneeze into our elbow, and avoid handshakes.
Bring hand sanitizer so you can clean your hands when you’d like.
Most importantly, if you are feeling sick or unwell, stay home and contact your doctor or HealthLink B.C. at 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for deaf and hearing impaired people) who can connect you with a health care provider. If you have serious symptoms call 9-1-1.
And remember, be patient. This is a new way of living for all of us, and it will take some time to adjust.