The summer of 2020 is officially here, but this year things inherently feel different – for obvious reasons. Although the sun is shining bright, the days are longer, and the reopening efforts are well under way – there remains a lingering sense of sombreness in the air.
We could and should find some solace in knowing that Toronto and the GTA are slowly emerging out of this 90-day+ lockdown giving us the hope that we can salvage some semblance of a normal summer – but really – what does normal even mean anymore? After being forced into confinement for so long, it’s hard to know which way is up!
And it’s not like you can just freely go out for dinner even as things reopen. With reduced capacity and social distancing protocols in place, going to a restaurant as we once knew it (or anywhere for that matter), is a thing of the past.
I went to the store the other day and it was just beautiful out, but there was a notable feeling of sadness as everyone stood quietly in the social distancing line with their face masks and gloves on. Just an underlying sombreness in the air. Also, I find that now if you venture out without a mask on, you do feel like the odd one out. This is the world we are living in now.
However, I can appreciate that for the sake of our sanity and the economy, reopening in some form is a necessity.
So if shopping becomes an experience where you always have to wait in a lineup as if you’re outside a nightclub on a Saturday night – then so be it.
If going out to dinner means socializing at a half-empty restaurant at any given time now, then so be it.
At this point, we’ll take whatever we can get.
Speaking of restaurants, there is one local Mediterranean place in particular that I really missed when they unfortunately had to close due to all of this. I would go there practically every week, so to be forced not to for three whole months was unfortunate to say the least, but of course there were much bigger problems at bay. However, when I heard they had recently reopened to pick-up only I was delighted, to say the least.
Their food is just so fresh, healthy and delicious. The owner is so sweet and given the financial toll this pandemic has taken on businesses throughout the GTA, I was glad he was fortunate enough to reopen.
Physical Distancing for Your Future
At this point, it has become ‘the norm’ to see social distancing markers practically everywhere. I respect the communal efforts being taken by all businesses. We all have to do our part in controlling the spread – even more so as things begin to reopen.
It’s nice to see certain establishments trying to inject some humour into the equation to ‘lighten the mood’ I suppose. This was the marker at a local Tim Hortons.
Even when all stages of re-opening have completed, I don’t foresee us ever going back to a time where these protocols won’t be in place – and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
I mean, who enjoys shopping in an overcrowded store anyway?
The regulation of body count could make for a better shopping experience. I’ve already felt that when going to the grocery store.
Bottom line: This whole concept of being overly careful and cautious is not just a COVID-19 fad – it’s a new way of life that is here to stay.
Vigilance on the Roads
One thing I have noticed lately as we see more traffic on the roads is that the level of erratic driving has gone up. I can’t say for sure what the root cause of this is, of course, but I can appreciate the ‘compromised’ mental states of many coming out of this pandemic. That’s why it remains extremely important to maintain a higher-than-normal degree of awareness when on the roads.
As I write this, my heart aches for a family that suffered a devastating loss last week. A young mother and her three children – all under the age of 7 – lost their lives in a horrific collision west of Toronto. I cannot even begin to imagine the depth of loss for the husband and father – just unfathomable.
While the circumstances surrounding the cause of the collision remain unclear, this is yet another senseless, seemingly preventable loss.
As we move forward into the latter half of this year, here’s to simply peace for everyone. Peace for those looking to rediscover their inner happiness and sense of self, which may have gotten lost in the last few months, peace for those who have suffered immeasurable loss, peace for those quietly going through a difficult time.
We need to be kinder, more understanding, and more patient with one another.
The summer of 2020 is about self-recovery, resilience and rejuvenation.