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Letters: No more half measures, Premier

Resident responds to B.C.'s latest round of virus restrictions
Premier John Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry during a COVID-19 update, March 29, 2021.

Dear Premier Horgan,

As a resident of British Columbia, I am writing to express my concerns and displeasure with the new restrictions announced March 29th, 2021 and how this announcement is indirectly affecting British Columbians, many of whom have been supportive of the measures over the last 12 months. The intent of my letter is to highlight how the recent measures have signaled a complete failure of the current measures, and fueling negative sentiment among those who have been following the restrictions since the very beginning.

The last 12 months have been challenging for everyone - the government bodies having to make decisions, businesses having to temporarily and many permanently close their doors, and individuals having to follow the guidelines – all with the hopes that this will slow the spread of COVID-19, protect the vulnerable, and return back to a quasi-form of normality. We have all had to make sacrifices over this period, and I am sure some more than others – and not to mention it has created a new issue for many to be divided on, even leading to physical altercations and an increase in racial discrimination.

We are hopefully getting close to the end, but the measures implemented by the federal and provincial governments have kept the end of this entire thing just outside of our reach. It is hard to put the words together for the emotions felt when you see other nations going about their days seemingly normal, nations such as New Zealand, Australia, and Vietnam to name a few. Social media allows us to see things in real time, and for months I have witnessed a friend in Macau go about his life as if there were no pandemic at all. At Christmas when we were mandated to stay at home, he was at his Christmas party with friends and colleagues – as if he was living in an alternate reality. On the 21st of January of this year, Macau reported a new case, breaking the 200 day zero infection record of Macau.

As disheartening as it was to watch what a normal life looks like during a pandemic, my family and many friends followed the measures put in place closely so we could see our families again. My wife spent her first Christmas Day in 30 years without her parents, and although it was heartbreaking for her and our 2 kids, we knew we were doing our part. Our part, with the intention of being able to see our families soon, as we have not seen them in months – unfortunately our closest family member is over 1,000km away. Living in North Eastern British Columbia, it is very common for the residents to live over 1,000kms away from family members. Those of us were not able to meet in outdoor spaces to have our children see their grandparents when the restrictions were lifted at the beginning of March. With these measures lifted, we had hope, hope that things were getting better, hope that soon enough we could travel to see our families, or for them to come here.

This hope was crushed on March 29th, 2021 – myself and many others are beginning to ask questions – have we done enough – why have we not done a true lockdown? Why have we dragged this along for 12 months? We are told it will get better, do your part or “do more” – a slap in the face to those who have been giving it their all. You ask us to not see friends and family, but it is completely fine to go to work, to have our children at school, and up until this point have restaurants open. Your messaging is mixed, and it is creating unrest in those who have been diligent – you need to take real action – lockdown completely or open up and let people live their lives. The half measures seem more like a façade to show how much the government cares and they are doing everything possible to get back to normal. You have not done enough – it is not the fault of the people why we are still here, it is the lackluster measures implemented by the government in an effort to make this all go away.

— Justin Jones, Fort St. John

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