Signs of COVID

I was listening to the Mayor of Ottawa on the radio earlier today talk about how some people are apparently ignoring the restrictions on public gatherings during the pandemic. He said the city’s tip line received more than four hundred calls on the weekend, with people reporting everything from their neighbor having a party to churches meeting without following the rules.

I doubt the complainants actually went into the churches they were complaining about – and in-person worship services are allowed, with limited capacity. I suspect those complaining just didn’t know that.

Four hundred calls seems like a lot. Maybe there were a lot of violations, given that the weather was nice. I wonder though how many people spoke to their neighbors before calling the authorities? After a year of social distancing, have we forgotten how to talk to each other?

A few years ago Canada’s Conservative Party was criticized during an election campaign for the idea of introducing a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline to report crimes, mostly against women. The idea of such a thing was one of the issues that cost the party re-election.

Times have changed. Now we are encouraged to report our neighbors and their transgressions. Is such vigilance warranted? You tell me.

Some different COVID news, shows the economic impact this pandemic has had in some places. I was surprised to hear today that the unthinkable has happened.

You may be aware that today marks the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting during daylight hours. Normally in Muslim-majority countries, restaurants and cafes are closed until sundown, to make it easier for Muslims to avoid having to see non-Muslims eating when they themselves can’t.

Yet this year, in at least one country the cafes are open. I guess business has been so bad that the authorities figure the few members of their society who are not observing the fast should be encouraged to spend their cash. That surprised me. And is a sign that their economy must be really hurting – last year the restaurants were closed for Ramadan.

Apparently COVID changes everything.

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