Along the way in this Covid adventure I read where no one should receive any criticism for contracting the coronavirus.
It was a statement I thought hardly necessary as I couldn’t see anyone doing such a thing.
But then my thoughts swung to people who, ignoring the protocols in place to help stop the spread, contracted the virus through travel. I could see these people even being fined.
But then my thoughts took another turn upon learning of an event that is closer to home, an elderly couple from the Sault being involved. They travelled to Southern Ontario recently for a family get-together. Twelve people were involved; 11 got the virus.
The patriarch ended up in hospital where, in an induced coma, he is on a ventilator.
It would seem this family has suffered enough.
However, it lends support to the call by health officials for people to stay in their own areas rather than travel and that even families not get together in a group. We are in a war here. It is time everyone realized it and acted accordingly.
Yet there are some who still don’t accept that the virus is here, claiming that it is all a hoax dreamed up by the “fake” news media. Even some churches aren’t willing to follow the restrictions.
A news report indicated the Ministry of the Attorney General issued a cease and desist letter to a church in Aylmer, Ont., that has repeatedly violated Ontario’s emergency laws.
On January 24, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt invited about 75 parishioners into the church during what was supposed to be a drive-in service. Aylmer police Chief Nick Novacich said, “while the church is well within its rights to hold a drive-in service, it must comply with current provincial orders and not hold indoor gatherings of more than 10 people for religious service.”
Police said 47 people have been identified so far and they are in the process of serving tickets to 29 individuals, including Hildebrandt and his wife Martha. Another 18 summonses are being processed for people who live outside of Elgin County and for those responsible for organizing and hosting the event.
In the Region of Waterloo, six elders, including the pastor, at Trinity Bible Chapel, were charged following in-person services exceeding the limit under the provincial lockdown.
Trinity was served a contempt of court order and its lawyer, Lisa Bildy, said the church is now prepared to suspend in-person worship for the duration of the lockdown. But Bildy hinted Trinity may file a Charter of Rights challenge.
It shouldn’t. These restrictions are in place for a perfectly good reason, fighting the virus.
I would think churches would know this as well as everyone else.
Yet in Windsor the pastor of Harvest Bible Church, Aaron Rock, is another who has been charged with violating Ontario’s lockdown restrictions. “I’m not a virus denier. I’m not an anti-masker. I’m not a foolish man,” Rock was quoted as saying in an interview. “I’m doing this for the sake of the community.”
According to Rock, the Harvest Bible Church building has a capacity of 1,350 people and the number of people who were inside the church was a fraction of that capacity, less than 25 per cent.
“Our building is almost as big as Costco,” Rock said. “But the government is telling me I can only put 10 people in that building. Yet people can go wander all through Costco.”
I can understand the church people being charged for such violations but there is another involving a church, or at least its parking lot, that I don’t, mainly because it can affect me directly.
The CBC reported that when a Kingsville couple, Matthew Steeves and his wife, went for a drive and stopped to play Pokemon GO in a church parking lot, an OPP officer drove up behind them and issued a fine for violating lockdown restrictions. The officer told them their trip wasn’t essential.
“I was in shock and my mind was blown. I was very angry. I couldn’t believe I was being given a $750 ($880 when tax is included) ticket for sitting in my van,” said Steeves.
“I don’t understand how being inside your vehicle is contributing to the spread of COVID.”
Essex County OPP Const. Amanda Allen confirmed to the CBC that a ticket was handed out for failing to comply with the province’s stay-at-home order restricting non-essential outings. “We continue to urge everyone to voluntarily comply with the rules and recommendations from health officials.”
Steeves said his family has been closely following COVID-19 regulations, including refraining from visiting family or friends for months. They didn’t realize going for a drive could land them a fine. “We’re all going a bit stir crazy,” he said.”
I can understand the feeling.
My wife and I have not seen family since Christmas We go for rides just to get out of the house, something I really appreciate as I am extremely claustrophobic. So we’re with Steeves in questioning how taking a drive can possibly cause any harm, considering in both our cases it involves two people who are together 24/7.
I think the situation involving the Steeves couple was one where common sense went off the rails. If it is OK to go walking, where you will be meeting or passing others, surely it should be OK to go for a drive.
OPP said originally that “officers will not arbitrarily stop a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the order. But I guess the part about not stopping a vehicle goes out the window when a driver brings a vehicle to a stop on his or her own. It’s OK to nail them then.
I can see charges being laid if two people in a car are not from the same household.
But I see it as overkill to charge people who are in each other’s company 24/7.