Free At Last!

It was only two weeks – but it was a long two weeks. Today I will celebrate by going for a walk.

COVID-19 restrictions vary from place to place, and are never easy. In Canada those arriving from overseas must quarantine for two weeks, whether they show any signs of illness or not.

I understand the perceived public health imperative. Even if I think many of the regulations are overkill, I’m going to follow them. Which is why a walk is a celebration.

For the past two weeks I have been stuck inside. It hasn’t really been hardship, but it does give me a little insight into prison as a correctional measure. My home, as comfortable as it is, has felt a little bit like jail.

Given that the primary concern is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I don’t see that there would have been any harm in going for a late night or early morning walk to get some fresh air and exercise. You can do that without interacting with anyone, but that was against the rules, so I didn’t.

I suppose the fear is that if people were allowed out they would start bending the rules on social distancing or shopping, and pretty soon quarantine would become meaningless. understanding the restrictions doesn’t mean I like them.

There’s also the feeling Big Brother is watching. For two weeks the government required daily reports as to my health. Did I have a fever? A cough?

I suppose I should be thankful they were concerned for my health, but I know they really weren’t. They just wanted to be sure that if I got sick I didn’t pass it on. That is why I had to stay home.

My understanding is that if I had missed a daily check-in then there would have been a phone call, or even a police visit, just to make sure I was staying home and following the rules.

I find that somewhat disturbing. Don’t the police have better uses for their time than to check up on people in quarantine? Are there no criminals to catch? Or is the assumption that anyone who fails to check in during quarantine has committed a criminal act and must be punished?

In normal times we assign our governments extraordinary powers that are for the most part not used. But these are not ordinary times, or so we are told.

A decade from now or maybe less, with the perspective of time, the conclusion will probably be that governments were unprepared for the pandemic, communicated poorly and overreacted, imposing unnecessary and illegal infringements on citizens’ rights. You can’t say that now though, as we are told they are working in our best interests – even if it appears they haven’t a clue what they are doing.

For now, I’m just happy that my 14 days in purgatory are over. It is considerably colder outside today than it was when I arrived two weeks ago, but that doesn’t matter.

I’m going for a good long walk. I’m going to enjoy my freedom. And, so far at least, I’m not required to wear a mask on the street, just if I actually go into a building. I probably won’t be going into too many buildings these days – I’m tired of restrictions.

Aren’t we all?

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