If I don’t get some shelter, Ooh yeah, I’m gonna fade away. The words from that Rolling Stones tune have been going through my head lately.
Let’s just say that full-timing in a motorcoach during a global pandemic is not what we had in mind when we started this journey in our retirement a few years back. Travel restrictions and border closures have pretty much kept us in one spot. And I think COVID-19 will continue to keep us locked up in Canada, if not in Ontario, for the foreseeable future.
We have a limited set of options in front of us as we try to get some certainty on where we might be sleeping in a few months time.
We have been going through the same discussion on a daily basis: what do we do now?
Absent a global pandemic, we would be finalizing the details for our trip south. Instead we are scouring our immediate area for any potential short-term rentals.
As of now we have one unconfirmed possibility.
The supply side is very, very thin. Yes, there are unfurnished houses and apartments available for a 12-month term but we aren’t going to put our coach into storage for a year. I’m not at all happy about putting it into storage for the six months of winter.
Short-term rentals fall into two broad categories: vacation stays and extended stays.
The vacation stays, like Airbnb, do offer extended stays but the costs, at least for the type of place we would consider, are excessive and we haven’t found one in this area that will accept pets.
The extended stays are companies that specialize in temporary housing. We have been working with one such company in the area. Nothing definite.
We could go west and hunker down for the winter in British Columbia. Or we could find an extended stay in another city like Ottawa. We flip flop on an almost daily basis.
It still seems unreal that we are in this position.
I started to look at buying a house again.
Lorraine was not happy with me on that front. She is not ready to abandon our dream.
I remain frustrated and angry with a situation that I can neither control nor influence. Forced to find alternate living arrangements at odds with our current lifestyle.
In a way, it feels like the state has given us a prison sentence in the form, literally, of a house arrest. The exact words from the government of Canada:
Canadian citizens and permanent residents are advised to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The best way to protect yourself, your family and those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in our communities is to choose to stay in Canada
With the land border closed, we have no choice but to stay in Canada. And with provincial governments apparently willing and able to close their borders to other Canadians, we may have little choice but to stay in Ontario.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has taken one of the provinces to court. You can learn more about the case over here. Should cases spike in another month or two, I expect many provinces will impose similar restrictions on the ability of Canadians to move about in their own country. At issue for the CCLA:
Bill 38 is Newfoundland’s COVID-19 “emergency law” that was enacted 7 weeks after the emergency was declared. The total number of cases in the province at the time was approximately 17 and that number was decreasing for an entire month with the exception of one day.
Bill 38 gives “inspectors” – as defined by the Minister – the ability to conduct warrantless searches and gives the police the right to remove individuals to a point of entry, such as an airport or ferry terminal. The province has also used a Special Measure to ban non-residents from entering the province, with limited exceptions. This amounts to a Newfoundland “travel ban”, as well as essentially legalizing banishment.
We think this is unconstitutional. Provinces with much higher population densities and COVID cases than Newfoundland have been effectively managing the COVID crisis without resorting to these extreme measures.
CCLA has taken the position that these emergency measures violate numerous Charter rights including mobility rights, the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and the freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.
On May 5, Kim, a Newfoundlander residing in Halifax received one of the toughest phone calls of her life. Her mother, whom Kim had visited every year and talked to on the phone every day, had passed away unexpectedly in Newfoundland. Kim knew about the emergency laws enacted the day before and sought an exemption. Kim had arranged to go to great lengths, including self-isolating at her parents’ house via a back-door entrance to the basement for 14 days. She had even arranged with the funeral director for her mother’s body to be held until Kim’s 14-day self-isolation was completed, at which point the funeral could be held. And she had already been working from home and following the social distancing guidelines of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Kim initially did not receive a response from the government despite emailing and telephoning the number listed on the government’s COVID website. When she did, she was horrified to learn her request had been denied. Kim’s father would have to bury Kim’s mother, his wife of 55 years, without his daughter Kim.
Another factor that might force us to stay in Ontario until this pandemic runs it course? Plate shaming. Plate shaming is now a thing in Canada. Vehicles being keyed and nasty notes being placed on the windshields of cars that brandish an out of province license plate. This happened to a Canadian with an out of province registration:
At this stage of life, my desire is to live peacefully and to avoid encounters with COVID-19 vigilantes. We ran into a few of them during the early days of this pandemic. With mandatory masks, I wear them as required. With social distancing, I practice keeping myself isolated from large gatherings. Since this pandemic started, I rarely go out anymore. I see a handful of people at my church where I work on producing the livestream services. Otherwise, I spend most of my time in our coach.
I feel sad and somewhat depressed.
I guess six months of pandemic living starts to take its toll.
The thought of having to store the coach hasn’t helped.