EDITORIAL: The message has to get through about social distancing

They’ve urged. They’ve warned. They’ve ordered. But evidently, for some people, the message still hasn’t gotten through. Over a sunny weekend in the Lower Mainland, we saw dozens of cases of people gathering in groups, packing cheek-to-jowl on trails and otherwise not observing the two-metre physical distance we have been told countless times by authorities is a must if we are going to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hate to see parks closed but it is absolutely necessary.

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There are already credible voices in the Canadian medical community asking for the government to enforce much more draconian measures. And if we don’t double down and commit to staying home unless absolutely necessary, we may find ourselves without the choice.

On Tuesday, India’s prime minister ordered a total lockdown for the country’s 1.3 billion people.

It means saying no to that beer run or trip to the corner store for a therapeutic dose of chocolate. If it doesn’t feel like sacrifice, it’s not helping.

Thankfully, practising social distancing doesn’t mean being anti-social. We are heartened to learn this week of an effort to encourage everyone to step out onto their balconies at 7 p.m. nightly and give a round of applause for the workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Whether they are running ventilators or stocking shelves, we want them to know how much we appreciate them.

No gesture of thanks is ever wasted. But if we really want to help them, we will lighten their load by doing everything in our power to keep ourselves out of the path of the virus. That means home sweet home, and plenty of it.

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