Community Voice Column – December 9, 2020

2020 has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in unimaginable ways. Despite the many challenges, it has brought us together as a community though. I have said it before, and I will say it again: It makes me incredibly proud to see our Kanata North neighbours help each other in times of need. Earlier this year, hundreds of volunteers stepped up to walk other residents’ pets, get groceries, run errands, sew masks, etc. This kindness is incredible, and I would like to thank you all!

The Holidays are usually a special time to get together with family and friends; however, Ottawa Public Health recommends that we celebrate only with members of our household and avoid trips to other cities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. I know, this will be hard, but we all have to do our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 by celebrating in person with the people we live with and celebrating virtually with everyone else. If you live alone, please consider exclusively celebrating with one additional household as a safe way to spend the Holidays.

COVID-19 cases are not just numbers, they are people. Every precaution we take to slow the spread matters. Please follow Ottawa Public Health’s recommendations and be COVID Wise to help keep COVID-19 under control. Wear a mask or face covering where required, or when you cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres. Isolate yourself from others when you are sick and get tested promptly if you have COVID-like symptoms. Stay two metres apart from those outside your household, and wash your hands regularly or use sanitizer, especially before touching your face.

Please remember, it is okay to not be okay. The holidays can be a tough time for many, and the pandemic might add extra tension and solitude. Please look out for each other. Virtually, check in on loved ones and reach out to family, friends, and neighbours. And please seek help if needed. You can find available community resources listed on my website at KanataNorth.ca/community-resources.

Lastly, please support our local Kanata North small businesses. When you are shopping this Holiday season, please choose small businesses whenever you can and encourage friends and family to do the same. Together, we can help save our small business community!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday Season. Stay safe!