What is our personal responsibility?

The second wave is upon us in many parts of Canada, according to Justin Trudeau and others in the know. In Ontario, our numbers were in the high 400s earlier this week, which is the highest they’ve been since May.

I’ve been working out mostly at home since March. Twice a week virtually with my regular gym studio. I also run outside once or twice a week and I attend a small group fitness class at a local park (also run by my gym). These options have felt safe, socially-distanced, low-risk, given what we know about transmission of the Covid-19 virus inside vs. outside. In all honesty, I am starting to get a bit bored with the virtual workouts. I do love the park workouts and I will always love my long runs. But being bored with my virtual workout hasn’t been enough for me to go inside the gym. Even when I see videos of my gym buddies happily doing bench presses and back squats with the barbell. Activities I miss. But simply, for me the risk isn’t worth it. Not for me, personally. For the people around me, for the larger community. I am sincerely not judging those that are doing these things. We all have different choices to make.

I feel as though when assessing the risk of doing something during this pandemic, it helps to think of it as “picking my candy”. I am working from home. It’s just my husband and me at home. We have been very careful with social distancing visits with family and friends and have yet to eat indoors, even though it’s allowed. The risks I feel are worth taking for me are the park workout (even though outside, there’s still risk amongst a group), going to the odd store in my neighbourhood with my mask on to get household items I need and seeing my family and friends in backyards and other outside locations. I don’t want to spread my risk around too much. If I started going to eat indoors once in awhile, or working inside the gym, I wouldn’t feel as safe going to see my parents, even outside, since they are in the high-risk category. But beyond my personal choices, with the numbers going up, what is our personal responsibility when making these choices, so that we are not contributing to the increasing numbers and the risk for others?

Everyone has different reasons for their risk. If kids are in school, that would be a priority. You’re an essential worker? Your job is a priority. And so on.

“Thank you to Essential Workers”

It’s not clear at the moment what our governments are going to mandate for this second wave. In Ontario, we are getting new information about their plan(s) on a daily basis. I don’t envy their responsibility with making these decisions. There is no easy answer. We all understand the economic effect another lockdown can have on vulnerable businesses such as gyms and restaurants. So if the government is not going to tell these businesses to scale back (perhaps, to Stage 2), what role do individuals and businesses have in making these decisions? Should gyms be continuing to expand their indoor offerings? Should restaurants continue to add back indoor dining? Is it even helping them by prolonging the inevitable?

My sense is that we shouldn’t wait until we are told to scale back. I saw a Coca-cola billboard ad the other day that said “Staying apart is the best way to stay united.” Coke doesn’t need the publicity but I thought it was a good ad (good ad agency). We are all in this together and as painful as it may be, we may need to make some hard decisions about our activities and what may be contributing to the increasing numbers. We owe it to those front-line workers, high-risk individuals, and anyone else that may be significantly affected by this virus.

Coca-Cola – Staying apart is the best way to stay united.

What are your thoughts on these difficult questions? Are you still going to the gym to work out? Are you planning to throughout the fall and winter? How does this fit into your risk plan? Are things different where you live? If you are doing virtual workouts in a small space inside your home, how are you beating off the monotony of it?

Nicole P. is still living in Stage 2 of the pandemic.
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