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Oct. 18, 2021 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Editorial: One step at a time

Someone posted a comment online this week noting he could tell we were approaching some form of social normalcy – finally – because a grocery store he visited had removed the one-way arrows on the floor of most of its aisles.

When you've been stuck in pandemic mode for nearly 18 months, perhaps even a small win like two-way traffic in the produce section is one worth celebrating.

But, still, let's be careful out there.

As Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara's acting chief medical officer of health, says in a story in this edition of The Lake Report, the province's decision to move to Step 3 came only about nine days after Ontario entered the second phase of this latest reopening.

New cases are down, but people are still dying of COVID, dangerous variants are still lurking but Canada's overall vaccination campaign has been extremely successful despite the doom and gloom of just a couple of months ago.

To ensure we are all protected, more people, young and old alike, need to get vaccinated. It is the key to life returning to normal and us being able to do the things we once took for granted.

No one wants a fourth wave or to contract one of the dangerous new variants or to pass COVID on to a loved one.

We've said it before, but it bears repeating: Who doesn't want to be able to get out with friends and family, to socialize, to be able to do things that have been restricted for most of the past year and a half?

One of the next major steps, somewhere down the road, will be reopening the Canada-U.S. border to more than just essential traffic.

That is slowly happening and despite the fact literally everyone wants regular border crossings to eventually resume, a measured response is the right one at this time.

It was disappointing, but not surprising, to hear some Niagara Region politicians taking Hirji to task for expressing his professional opinion about not rushing to open the border, especially with the Delta virus circulating.

Small-town politicians, performing for the cameras, less concerned with being leaders and more concerned with being cheerleaders and appeasing their voter base, told Hirji, among other things, to "stay in your lane," "restrain yourself," be more "positive" and to "stop the doom and gloom."

Sure, they are frustrated, who isn't? But their behaviour and comments perfectly illustrate why it is essential that scientists, physicians and other experts must be independent of political influence.

We need people like Hirji to be able to tell the political class things they often don't want to hear.

So, yes, a slow and rational approach on the border, please. And the rest of us: get the jab if you haven't already, wash your hands, wear a mask, socialize carefully. We all know the drill now.

It won't be much longer.