Rena Phillips holds an anniversary sign up will visiting husband Frank at Nanaimo Seniors’ Village during their 61st wedding anniversary March 31. Social distancing prevented the two from in-person celebrations. (Submitted photo)

EDITORIAL: Social distancing means some sacrifice, please make it

Thank your frontline workers and protect your loved ones, don’t leave home unless you really have to

What does quarantine mean?

According to the Oxford dictionary, quarantine means a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.

When the Canadian government flew Canadian citizens out of Wuhan in early February, they were quarantined at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

What does self-isolation mean?

Self-isolation is when people stay home and do not go out into public. It’s pretty much the same thing as quarantine, except self-isolation implies an action you take and enforce on your own and in your own space, as opposed to something provided and overseen by the government

Typically, people in self-isolation have flu-like symptoms, or may have been at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. People in self-isolation should not leave the home, should not use public transit, and should have groceries and supplies delivered.

And then there is social distancing, the concept every single Vancouver Islander needs to be practicing, yet seems to have the greatest difficulty grasping.

Social distancing involves keeping a minimum of two metres between yourself and other people outside your immediate household, and limiting your trips outside your home to those things deemed absolutely essential.

It does not mean continuing your daily trip to the corner store for a newspaper and a coffee. It does not mean continuing to meet up with your neighbour for your regular dog walk, your buddy for a round of golf, or your girlfriend for dinner.

For most of us, social distancing means impulse control and hunkering down. It means sacrifice.

We cannot do things we normally would. We cannot go places we normally go. It’s deeper than not going out to bars, restaurants, concerts, or sporting events. It means trying to get to bed at a normal hour, and trying not to sleep too much. It means trying to keep up regular routines when nothing is regular. It means limiting contact with loved ones to the phone, or video chat.

It could mean loneliness and boredom. It should mean paying a price.

It is interesting that this period of sacrifice is taking place during the Christian period of Lent, a 40-day period of personal sacrifice that replicates Jesus’s 40-days and 40-nights in the desert. Regardless of faith, there’s something almost comical in the timing.

One thing COVID-19 restrictions have given us is time. Even though the world has constricted, and our freedoms and activities have been limited, we are still in control of how we abide this time.

Abide with diligence, sacrifice and we will make it through.

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