As the Covid-19 restrictions in the province begin to relax, we wonder how the pandemic has affected our community.
While we are being asked to stay close to home, and reduce our exposure, our own neighbourhood is more than ever our centre of gravity. We are not going far for goods, services and recreation; without school or summer camps, our kids are spending more time at home; more are working from home, and have eliminated their daily commutes. Others, have simply lost their jobs. Our cars are spending more time parked in our driveways, and traffic in our streets is quieter. In the present climate of uncertainty, knowing our neighbours, connecting with them and being supportive is more important than ever.
To date, many city and neighbourhood gatherings and activities that attract large crowds have been cancelled. We might find that we have been left to our own devices when it comes to making our own fun.
Are we going to discover that this is the year of “My Neighbourhood”?
This summer we might not have the taste to hold face-to-face neighbourhood gatherings, even if we were allowed, but as the weather warms up, we can rev up our creative powers to think up ways to connect with our neighbours while keeping at least 2 metres apart.
These efforts will help build stronger neighbourhoods, from the ground up. Some of our neighbours might feel very vulnerable to Covid-19, or might have to self-isolate, regardless of new relaxed restrictions. Others might be struggling from the impact of isolation, or changes in their lives that have left them feeling lost. Be thoughtful and open to help out if you can.
In Kitchener we have seen people running errands and doing yard work for others, playing music, displaying art work, chalking messages of encouragement on sidewalks, making noise for frontline workers, using little libraries as pantries. Many have more time in their hands. We are seeing more people going out for walks, beautifully groomed front yards, and neighbours spontaneously spending some time to chat in their walks. Others are pulling out their lawn chairs, as invitations for neighbours to stop by for a few minutes.
All the signs are pointing at the growing importance of your neighbourhood in your life. Make the best of it; make it caring, safe and fun, for yourself, your family and your neighbours.