This pandemic has seemed to bring out the best and worst of people.
There are pages popping up on Facebook to help connect people and keep the community informed. The Smithers and Area Community Support Network page was started on March 15 and already has over 1,150 people on it. There are people offering to pick up essential things for those who can’t leave their homes and others who are offering services such as free online yoga. It really is so beautiful to see the community working together through such a scary and strange time.
But on the other hand, I’ve witnessed a lot of terrible behaviour from people in recent weeks. The greed with hoarding and stockpiling food, diapers, formula and toilet paper is unreal. There would be enough to go around if everyone just took what they needed. I understand the fear of being without something but the public has been reassured by politicians and supermarkets that people don’t need to be going overboard with the stashing.
I’ve also heard from a lot of people that some aren’t taking the calls for social distancing seriously. This is incredibly selfish. This needs to be taken seriously. My sister-in-law works at a hospital and she’s had to make a very hard decision to drop her young daughter off at my parents’ house to stay for a while. She hasn’t seen her daughter in over a week and while it is killing her, she knows it the best decision. I know other people who have had to make tough calls to have their children stay somewhere else to protect them. So while essential workers are going without seeing their children, other people aren’t listening to the calls to stay home — which puts everyone at risk and could keep the selfless families apart longer. Self isolating can be lonely and boring but it is only temporary and it is the easiest way we can help to stop spread the virus. We are all in this together.
This pandemic has also brought out some crazy cyber bullying. Social media can be a useful tool during times like this. It can help with the loneliness and connect people with services. But it can also show the ugly side of people. This past week saw two people in the community attacked.
The decision for one business owner to remain open brought on an onslaught of attacks. His personal character was questioned. The insults that were thrown around on Facebook were terrible. His business is now closed and I’m sure he is feeling down. He is being financially hurt by this public health emergency and now he also has to deal with his reputation.
Everyone is trying to figure out how to get through this crisis and we need to give everyone some grace. People who were worried about his business hours should have contacted him or his business directly instead of shaming him on social media.
Another business owner was blasted for not opening up early to let seniors shop. When he did extend his hours, he was called out for only doing it to avoid the backlash and was shamed into it. I don’t understand that. Changing store hours probably takes a little bit of logistics and time to figure out. Again, we need to be careful how we treat each other. Maybe it is easy to type hurtful comments online but that doesn’t mean we should. Would you say these things to someone’s face?
No one really knows how to navigate through this unprecedented time. Let’s listen to the public health doctors and officials and do what we can now while still caring for each other.