Essentially, Essential Is In The Eye Of The Beholder


As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, rumour has it that the Premiere of Quebec will, at a five o’clock news conference today, announce a severe new lockdown for the province. The kicker: it is also rumoured that this new lockdown will include a curfew.

The plan seems to be that from 8:00 P.M. only emergency traffic – both pedestrian and vehicular – will be allowed. Will we see police officers tackling late-night joggers? Tazing someone who nips out for milk? One hopes the concept of a curfew will be managed carefully and with much compassion and limited force.

Will we see police officers tackling late-night joggers? Tazing someone who nips out for milk?

But different people see things differently. This has become clear with the current COVID restrictions. In essence: what is, and what is not an essential item? I was talking to a friend last evening. His wife has significant mobility issues and couldn’t get out even without a request to stay home. He was out getting groceries and thought it would be a good idea to pick up a book of word puzzles for his wife. Crosswords, word search and the like. She is fond of these things and, given her infirmity, they help to pass the time.

Unfortunately, he was unable to purchase the puzzle book as it was deemed non-essential. They government does not want us to go out, yet the purchase of a book that would help one in confinement was not allowed.

I was in Walmart over the weekend. They have sectioned off the non-essential goods from those that are allowed. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw hockey sticks in the non-essential department. C’mon, this is Canada! However, one could argue that a backyard skating rink is the ideal way for kids (and adults) to get some fresh air and exercise without breaking any confinement rules. Perhaps allow child-size sticks and skates?

Doesn’t it seem counter productive to ban night walkers via curfew?

Essentially, essential is in the eye of the beholder, if you will.

I know a person who is out of work directly due to the COVID restrictions; he’s a bartender, and bars/restaurants are closed. As a bartender he is used to keeping late hours. Every night at nine o’clock or so he goes for a long walk. During the course of his stroll, with things as they are now, he passes a mere handful of other walkers.

My wife and I also take a daily walk, but we usually go in the late afternoon, after she has finished her ZOOM teaching day. We are constantly dodging others and dipsy doodling on the sidewalks or park walkways to avoid people. Doesn’t it seem counter productive to ban night walkers via curfew?

Perhaps the SAQ should, like Walmart, cordon-off the expensive scotches and champagnes, but allow access to lesser brands of the gargle

Interestingly the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), the government owned liquor stores (the only liquor stores), remain open during the pandemic. Appropriate measures have been taken within outlets to provide shoppers with a safe environment. Is booze an essential item? Certainly for some it is, but I think alcoholics could get by without high-end hooch. Perhaps the SAQ should, like Walmart, cordon-off the expensive scotches and champagnes, but allow access to lesser brands of the gargle. For medicinal purposes of course.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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