Editorial: Open sesame, Powell River

How long does it take to form a new habit?

With the province beginning to ease restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, personal bubbles have permission to be expanded, incrementally, beginning with family members who do not live in the same household, followed by a variety of businesses and services.

But have we become used to avoiding other people? If so, how difficult will it be to visit that hairdresser, massage therapist or other personal services individual who, if they meet provincial guidelines to do so, can now see clients again?

While the number is different for everyone, apparently, 66 days is the average time it takes to form a new habit. How long have we been in lockdown mode? Less than that, barely. BC declared a public health emergency on March 17.

How many people who have formed the new habit of self-distancing will continue with the practice and not ease back into former routines? Only time, and cash registers and pay terminals at businesses, will tell.

People will be going from assuming everyone could potentially be carrying the COVID-19 virus to trusting that those we expand our bubble to will take precautions as seriously as they are. That trust will not be easy to dispense for some, especially when considering the possible danger to those within their old bubble.

How quickly people resume their regular attendance to those types of businesses is anyone’s guess, but the economy depends on the financial boost that comes with everyone spreading money around to others, who in turn spread it even further into and throughout the community. You know, like the good old days.

In addition to personal care services, dentists, in-person counsellors, restaurants and museums are expected to reopen by the middle of this month, and most provincial parks will open before the May long weekend.

Going to a park is one thing, attending an appointment where others are coming and going throughout the day is another. How many bubbles are merging in those cases?

Some businesses will never be the same, some will never come back, and others will emerge or evolve with the times. Business people are a resourceful and innovative bunch. Results of what emerges post-pandemic, or at least post-restrictions, will be interesting to see.

Powell River is more isolated than the average community in BC, especially with recent travel restrictions in place. Will that give people more confidence to increase the occupancy of their bubbles, or is it a false sense of security? By all accounts, COVID-19 knows no borders. For the sake of all local businesses, let’s hope our isolation works in their favour in this case.

Some bubbles will expand and grow while others stand firm. Communities will change, businesses will change, and the world will change. Who and what will change with it?

Many businesses are already open, others are in preparation mode. They’re ready, or getting ready. Are you?

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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