Is this what people mean by ‘new normal’?
On any given weekend, the parking lot of the Civic Centre is now full as the Smithers Minor Hockey season rounds into full swing.
A few weeks ago, teams were here from Prince Rupert to Vanderhoof for the Jim Bolster Memorial Tournament. Some of our rep teams have travelled to other places including Quesnel and Terrace.
This past weekend Smithers hosted a U9 tournament.
After so many months of pandemic-related lockdowns, restrictions and public health measures, we are once again a hockey town.
That was not the case in the spring of 2020, when the first wave of COVID struck.
It was not the case last fall when the second wave struck with more than tenfold the force of the first.
It was not the case this past spring when the third wave took us soaring past 1,000 cases per day for a while.
Looking from the outside in, one might assume we have come through COVID-19 and are on the other side of it.
But look where we actually are.
B.C. is averaging between six and seven hundred new cases of COVID-19 per day.
And yet, last week B.C. lifted attendance limits on events (with some local exceptions) and the federal government eased back international travel restrictions.
We were more locked down in the spring of 2020 when B.C. had less than 50 cases per day.
Of course, back then we knew very little about COVID-19 except that it was ravaging certain other countries, overwhelming their healthcare systems and killing people in huge numbers and we didn’t want that to be B.C.
We were more locked down in the fall of 2020 when we were also at 600 – 700 cases per day.
Of course, back then we did not have safe, effective vaccines available for every person who is eligible to take them.
We were more locked down in the spring of this year.
Of course, back then, we were still in the early stages of the vaccination program and developing our restart plan.
We all had hoped this would be a one-wave-and-done virus.
It had other plans.
We are now faced with the choice of either being defeated by it or moving on as best we can because we cannot continue to put our lives on hold forever.
There are those who feel we should be stepping all the way back to full lockdown.
There are others who feel like any minor inconvenience as a measure to stem the tide is a step too far.
Fortunately, as a society at large, it looks like we’ve chosen to learn how to live with COVID.