As Kamloops businesses open up, many worry about the increased risk of infection with COVID-19. However, there are ways that we can open our city safely, but we need everyone’s help. How can you help #OpenWithCare?
Wear A Mask To Help Out
Studies have shown that wearing masks in public can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. According to the Government of Canada website, wearing a non-medical mask or face-covering is recommended in crowded public settings such as stores, shopping areas, and public transportation. You’ll know your face mask or face covering is effective if it allows for easy breathing, fits securely to the head, and is made of at least 2 layers of tightly-woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen). If your mask becomes damp or dirty, change it out for a new one as soon as possible. If it’s a cloth mask, wash it. Your mask should be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment, as touching your face increases your chance of contracting COVID-19.
Never share your mask with others. Never place a mask on anyone under two years of age, on someone who is unable to remove it themselves, or who has trouble breathing. Your mask should not impair your vision. It should also not be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials, or anything that might fall apart easily, like tape. Masks with exhalation valves are not recommended, because they don’t protect others from COVID-19 and don’t limit the spread of the virus.
Sanitize To Help Out
Hand washing is the most effective way to limit the spread of any virus or bacteria. If you are unable to wash your hands, however, sanitizing them is the next best option. Hand sanitizer is convenient, effective, and can be found at most drug stores. As part of the province’s reopening plan, most businesses have hand sanitizer available to customers. It’s also a good idea to keep a small bottle on your person or in your vehicle.
Social Distance To Help Out
When in public spaces, stay 6ft or 2m from those around you. This is because if someone near you has the virus, droplets from their nose or mouth are not likely to travel this distance when they speak or cough. It is still a good idea to wear a mask even if you are socially distancing because it further reduces the spread of droplets. If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into your elbow, not into your hand.
We are currently in Phase 3 of BC’s reopening plan. As such, according to the Government of BC website, the recommended maximum number of people at a gathering is six. However, even in small groups, social distancing is still encouraged. Avoid touching others whenever possible and remember to wash your hands or sanitize after you do so.
Support Kamloops To Help Out
This has been a difficult time for people and businesses everywhere. The impacts of the pandemic on our economy are still being measured, but are expected to be severe. To help mitigate the impact, it’s a good idea to shop at Kamloops owned and operated businesses. These small businesses have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and need our support the most. Try to eat at a local restaurant once a week, or, even better, order takeout from them and enjoy your food from the safety of your own home. Buy coffee from your local coffee shop instead of a chain. If you have extra funds, consider donating them. Charities like the Kamloops Food Bank, the BCSPCA, and others are particularly vulnerable during these uncertain times. Doing these small things can make a huge difference in helping our city, province, and country get back on its feet.
Be Kind To Help Out
In this trying time, many individuals feel stressed about the future and about the current situation. It is more important than ever to be kind to and understanding of those around us. As our provincial health officer, Dr. Bonny Henry, says, “Be kind. Be calm. Be safe.” These lessons are among the most important ones we can learn from her. It may be difficult to follow them as the pandemic stretches on with no end in sight, but they are vitally important. If you feel you need to speak to a counsellor, there are many free online resources available to those struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.
Together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and help our economy survive, but everyone needs to do their part. For more information about BC’s response to the pandemic, visit the BC Government’s COVID-19 response website at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support. For more information about Canada’s response to the pandemic, go to www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse.html. And for more about business reopening in Kamloops, visit Downtown Kamloops’s #OpenWithCare page at www.downtownkamloops.com/open-with-care/.