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Sunday, September 25, 2022
How folks are managing one year into the pandemic

Brittney Cutler
Special to Niagara Now/The Lake Report

It's now been a year since the coronavirus hit and changed life as we all knew it.

For many in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant tough times as they coped with lost business, repeated lockdowns and #stayhome orders.

Kathryn Hoshkiw feels lucky. The mother of two has weathered the pandemic well and is happy that her kids are excelling with their online studies. 

“They can easily access their professors, the live classes are at great hours, they’ve taken the time to join clubs, groups and participate virtually,” Hoshkiw says. 

She thinks her children will feel more prepared once they get back on campus because they took this year to work out a routine for when and how to get work done without being stressed and still have time for leisure at home. 

As for Hoshkiw’s occupation, she works from home all winter as a farm consultant and researcher. 

“The only way it (the pandemic) affected me was income slightly because I gave up consulting at some northern farms last year, so I would not have to stay with my mother when in that area,” she says.

“I didn’t want to risk her health on the off-chance I became infected unknowingly,” Hoshkiw says. “And research opportunities were down considerably, which is the bulk of my income, but we managed.” 

Former town councillor Paolo Miele, a father of three, says the pandemic hasn’t been easy for his family.

“We have been staying at home. My oldest daughter has done her second year of university at home, my other daughter has been in and out of Grade 12, and our youngest has been online for Grade 4,” Miele says. “My wife has been running our household and has been the glue for our family.”

He looks forward to a return to normalcy.

“Honestly, within the next couple of months, once the vaccines have rolled out to the residents and to the rest of Canada, we are going to slowly get back to normal,” says Miele.

He anticipates that by the end of this year, if not this summer, we’ll be able to move around more freely.  

Another mother, Amy Post, says her family has been very lucky, but it hasn't been without its hiccups.

“I used to work for NOTL for Vintage Hotels, as a contract worker, doing the floral and decor work around town. It was announced (last year) on March 17 that we no longer were needed as the hotels would be closing for a while,” Post says. 

Her husband, Colin, a tech teacher, has been stressed from changing from in-class to online classes. As well, he has dealt with a chronic, non-COVID cough since August. 

Post says that for the time being at home, her two kids have been doing house work to keep busy and helped her husband renovate their basement, which flooded in January. But taking time for family is also really important. 

“We take more time now to spend time with each other, keeping life simpler,” says Post. “I hope people are able to slow down a bit and take time to enjoy what they’ve got, but we are fortunate and had no hardships staying home.” 

After a year of living with the pandemic, the biggest surprise was that she “wasn’t going back to my hotel work. I loved my team and I miss our adventures,” says Post.

A year ago if anyone had suggested this pandemic year was coming, “I wouldn’t have believed it.” 

Lord Mayor Betty Disero says NOTL residents have been very supportive of all the measures taken by the town over the past year.

“The citizens of Niagara-on-the-Lake have been exemplary. Their diligence to stay safe and to keep people around them safe, they have done everything they can including helping the town,” says Disero.

“There has been an overwhelming amount of support for each other and, in that regard, it has brought the community a little closer together.”

Disero says the pandemic has had a devastating effect on the local economy particularly the wine industry and tourism.

As mayor during this unprecedented year, she says she faced a lot of hard decisions and that has been tough on her personally.

“The stress of how to make the town a safer place for all our citizens has been something with me for a year now,” she says.

She focused on communication and trying to “give people information that will help them make decisions during this COVID-19 period and trying to ensure that the information that goes out to the public is accurate,” says Disero. 

“Although the complete reopening will be different than what it was before, we may have to continue wearing masks for a longer period of time,” she says.  “I believe our economy will come back. It will be slow, but it will come back.” 

HOW ARE YOU COPING?: Let us know how you are adapting to life after 12 months of COVID-19. What are you doing differently? How has it affected your life? Email