COVID-19 hit home in the Cowichan Valley at the end of last week, as a slew of cancellations were announced.
From local events such as theatre performances and sports games, to big national and international events like the Juno Awards and the World Figure Skating Championships, notifications of postponements and cancellations came thick and fast starting last Thursday and Friday.
Until that point, it was pretty much life as usual here in the Cowichan Valley, with a few precautions like more hand washing, and the annoyance of going to the grocery store and seeing an empty shelf where the toilet paper is usually stocked. (Seriously people, there is no need to hoard toilet paper, or anything else for that matter. There are no shortages of goods or breaks in supply chains.)
But it all got very real and immediate when people showed up at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre to see fiddler Natalie MacMaster on Thursday night only to be turned away at the door, after the province early that afternoon announced a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people.
An avalanche of announcements has followed.
The VIU Cowichan Campus will not be holding classes. The Cowichan Valley Capitals’ junior A championship series is off. Seniors centres around the Cowichan Valley have closed their doors, and much more.
We expect further closures and cancellations over the coming few weeks.
Most of us have never lived through anything like this, and we are unsure what the future holds. But this is the time when we must all, metaphorically, come together, even as we distance ourselves physically. We must follow the advice of our health authorities and do our part. We must not panic and think only of ourselves in a rush to hoard hand sanitizer. Now is the time to help out our neighbours (especially the elderly), and prove that, as generations before us did when they faced disease and war, that we are a strong, compassionate, smart community.