As the weather turns more summery, and people who have been in some form of COVID-19 isolation are chomping at the bit to get outside, public parks are filling rapidly. They provide ample space for proper social distancing while still allowing for small groups of family and friends to meet.
Clearly, there have been instances of over-exuberance during which people have let-down their 6-foot guard. But from my point of view, most folks appear to be playing by the rules.
And that includes police and local security forces. In my city, it has long been against the law to consume alcohol in public. Before COVID-19 people sitting in the park swigging beer, or elegantly sipping wine, were told to put it away, or given a ticket. I don’t mean being drunk in a public place, but the mere consumption of hooch was/is verboten.
Now we have no option but public parks should we want to share a drink with the allowed number of people (from the allowed number of households). And the authorities have wisely looked the other way. A recent article in the National Post poses the possibility that COVID-19 is making Canadian cities more European. I have over the years had numerous conversations with people from Europe who were baffled to learn that responsible adults are not allowed to consume alcohol in a public park or beach.
On several occasions recently my wife and I have attended small gatherings of friends for a drink in the park. We have been careful to adhere to proper physical distancing requirements. Needless to say, we have cleaned-up when leaving. While I am fully in favour of this easing of the draconian ban on sharing a drink in public, there is one COVID-19 related catch.
On the one hand, municipal authorities have, evidently, instructed police and local security to turn a blind eye to alcohol consumption in public during the pandemic. While on the other hand, also in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions, they have closed and lock all public bathrooms.
It’s diabolical. Did they get together and decide OK, we’ll let them drink beer, but then lock them out of the washrooms. You can almost hear the fiendish laugh.
Let me just state that those of you who live near a public greenspace, as I do myself, please follow the approach of the police and look the other way should you notice an otherwise civilized-looking person having a whiz in your lane. Remember, we’re all in this together. And please accept my thanks and apology!