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How to Be a Good Neighbour While Social Distancing.

As Covid-19 sweeps its way through our cities and neighbourhoods, we’ve also seen acts of kindness emerge in its wake. From cities and countries pulling together to weather the economic storms ahead, to online communities offering support for individuals, families, students, homeowners, renters, business owners, employees, those looking for work, and those trying to manage their day to day in this new environment. Staying connected to your community while respecting the rules of social distancing is totally possible. Here are some ideas for being a good neighbour while social distancing.

Check in. This could be especially impactful for your elderly or otherwise vulnerable neighbours. They may not be able to run important errands such as getting groceries and medications, or they may be emotionally fragile and might benefit from a friendly check-in from time to time. Reach out to your soon-to-be “next-ies” by leaving a note that includes your phone number, email address and an offer to drop some groceries off on their porch steps.

Join an online group. Apps like Facebook, Slack, WhatsApp and Zoom are simple to use and can help fill the void left by social distancing. Join an online community of neighbours, a local parents’ group, or like-minded hobbyists. Meet at regularly scheduled days/times, much like you might in person, to connect and “chat” with folks who are facing similar worries and wins.

Don’t hoard. Social distancing dictates that people should only leave home for essential errands. While out on your limited outings, stock up on enough groceries that you won’t have to go shopping again in a couple of days, but be mindful of other people’s needs. Canada is not currently experiencing a shortage of toilet paper, canned good or anti-bacterial hand soap – aside from the scarcities caused by hoarders.

Shop online, shop local. Many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat. When ordering your groceries, food delivery or other items online, consider buying from a local business.

Give what you can. Many local homeless shelters, food banks, animal shelters and other non-profits are still operating, so consider donating extra supplies or money if you can spare it. If you’ve already paid in advance for piano lessons, dance classes or a child’s school excursion, rather than requesting a refund, consider leaving that money with the organization/service provider as a donation instead.

Stay informed. Don’t get swallowed up by all the doom and gloom, and ensure you’re getting your news from credible sources.

Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer. Cough and sneeze into your sleeve. Tissues are a single-use item. And for the love of Pete, don’t touch your face! This is all fairly basic stuff that we’ve all heard from Mom every time cold and flu season rolls around. Furthermore, clean frequently touches surfaces and of course, maintain a safe distance if you must be in contact with anyone.

And last but certainly not least…

Stay home! In order to flatten the curve, government and public health agencies are strongly urging the public to stay home. Have a hankering to go shoot some hoops at the park? Stay home. Feel like stopping by a friend’s place, just to say “hi”? Stay home. Need to quickly drop off a gift for Grandma’s birthday? Stay home. Not feeling well or have you recently travelled? Stay home. Have you been in close contact with someone who has recently travelled or isn’t feeling well? Stay home. The longer we ignore the rules of social distancing, the longer we’ll have to do it.

It’s possible to be a good neighbor while social distancing. In fact, staying away from your neighbors is the best thing you can do right now. Technology has come a long way, allowing us to stay connected with those near and far without ever leaving the safety of home.