House Arrest

Stay-at-home orders were announced in Ontario yesterday. They will take effect after midnight tonight. Stay-at-home sounds better than curfew or house arrest although it is hard to see much of a difference. Our government has declared that leaving our home is now against the law and punishable by fines and detention.

There are a few exceptions. We can leave our homes for “essential” reasons only: shopping for groceries, going to work if deemed an essential employee, accessing health care and exercise.

As of tomorrow, police and bylaw enforcement officers will have the power to enforce the stay-at-home order.

The order will be in effect for at least a month. Given that we have been operating under one set of restrictions or another since last March, I doubt that the order will be rescinded any time soon. We are likely in this mess for at least another few months.

The Canada/US Border will remain closed to non-essential travel for another month. That was also announced yesterday however it did not make the front page. Most Canadians expect the border to remain closed until the pandemic is over.

And when might that be?

There are many opinions on when the pandemic will end. McKinsey & Company defined the end of the pandemic as the point at which significant and ongoing public-health measures are no longer required to prevent future spikes in disease and mortality.

Their best guess is late 2021 to achieve herd immunity.

Will our border open up before then? Highly unlikely.

Will we be freed from house arrest before then? I certainly hope so.

Will things get back to normal quickly? Doubtful.

A perspective from Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer:

We will book our site at Myakka for the fall. I know, I know. Likely wishful thinking on my part. But it gives us a bit of hope that we may one day resume our travels south. We have a fallback here in Ontario in the event that the border remains closed. The possibility of a second winter in Ontario remains very high in my opinion.

Getting through the next few months may prove challenging. Canada can be a tough country in the winter time. Little in the way of sunlight. Very short days. Long nights. Cold temperatures. Being under house arrest will not do much to improve the mood.

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