Flat as a pancake

Watching the premier’s press conference earlier on Monday was, in a word, deflating.

Deflated, flat as a pancake at the prospect of doing all that has been asked, only to learn Ontario is reverting to a “step two” stance in dealing with the pandemic almost two full years in. It is demoralizing for most.

Anecdotally, many cases and the upswing in counts have to do with holiday festivities. The recurrent theme of staying safe and distancing has been ignored so often these past dozens of months.

Much like smokers and the risk associated with that pastime, COVID is something for the other guy or gal. Nobody walks around expecting to get it. Unfortunately, plenty of friends and acquaintances with that mindset are now sitting at home, playing the waiting game, hoping the dose they acquired isn’t lethal.

Parents have reacted in a deflated fashion too, after being told school was on, only to learn a few days later that students will return to online learning for at least the first half of January.

Teachers and support people will dig in one more time for online efforts, but what a frustrating time for all involved. Parents will do what they can, juggling the challenges of work and caring for their family.

Caught in the middle are students we fear will have lost at least two years of education. The building blocks of their training and socialization have been imperiled and is cause for worry about their longer-term prospects.

Small business owners, specifically restaurants this go-around, may have served their last patrons. After a few short months hustling to get business going again, they will be thrown off track and become reliant on takeout orders as their only revenue stream. While we are all struggling with mounting grocery bills and expenses, please support local eateries when you can.

Alarmingly, the average business, according to The Canadian Federation of Independent Business in a recent interview, has thus far accumulated $180,000 of debt to get through COVID. That is an astronomical number to pay back, prompting further polling feedback that nearly 18% of businesses are considering closing down permanently. Some may not even have the option.

For most of history, great gains come at a price and Canadians have paid dearly these past two years between restrictions and worries. But despite repeated setbacks, we are getting closer each day and victory over this virus lies ahead.