Uncertainty Deferred

More than I thought. 28 sites with full-timers. We thought the number here would be about 10. Surprising.

Thankfully we now get to see people as we walk around the park. We continue to practice social distancing however we no longer experience social isolation. That makes a big difference.

Our time at the dealership, five weeks in total, was fine and we are so thankful for their generous hospitality. We were truly socially isolated during that time with limited social contact and that did begin to take a toll on my well-being.

We moved to our seasonal site on Friday without any issues. Our outdoor furniture survived the winter without any noticeable damage. For the time being we have a site with services in a beautiful outdoor setting in a quiet and peaceful place.

The cellular Internet here is high-speed. I get about 100 Mbps from the tower. Thank heavens for our international unthrottled high-speed unlimited cellular data plan. I use anywhere between 300 and 400 GB of data on a monthly basis and a reliable high-speed Internet is a necessity for our coach.

Uncertainty still lingers. Not just with us but for most of the full-timers here. The same question comes up in casual conversation: what will happen to us come fall? Will we be allowed to travel south?

I do not know.

The uncertainty of where we would live in Canada has been resolved. For now. Where will we be living come October?

I do not know.

This constant uncertainty from COVID-19 makes the RV lifestyle much less tenable for Canadian Snowbirds. The whole country, with the exception of a few places in British Columbia, is frozen for most of the year. Even in May. We are back into sub-zero temperatures overnight with daytime highs struggling to get past 8 Celsius or 46 Fahrenheit. Man is it cold in this country.

There is no way that we would choose to live in our coach during the winter months in Ontario. We even found it unpleasant during April.

I will be writing to the Canadian Snowbirds Association to see what, if anything, they might be doing to ensure our political leaders take into account the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Canadian Snowbirds that alternate their six months between Canada and the United States.

Trying to make alternate living arrangements at the last minute would be difficult and stressful. And I am not sure at what point in time we would have to make a call as to whether we stay in Canada this winter. June? July? August?

For now, I will try to not worry about what happens in another 5 months.

The time to worry about what happens next will come along soon enough.

Uncertainty deferred.

Work At Home

During our retirement, I have been able to spend a lot more time in my volunteer work helping churches and not-for-profit groups in audio, music and web development. Usually 30 to 40 hours a week. Keeps me very busy.

The government restrictions have made this work far more challenging. Despite the restrictions I have found ways to work around most of the limitations with technology. In some cases, taking very unconventional approaches to the task at hand.

In this video, our church does a walkthrough of our temporary online production facilities. With strict social distancing protocols, we had to use a combination of on-site and off-site roles as well as creative use of pre-production and post-production to deliver our live stream.

I am interviewed at the 4 minute mark in the video. And, yes, it is possible to serve the community during a pandemic when you are required to be socially distant from other people. Even from a motorcoach.

Home Free

We have our site for the season! We just received this confirmation:

Although we will be closed to recreational camping, we are still able to welcome campers whose full time home is their RV. Barrie KOA Campground will provide a site with electricity and sewer hook-up to self-contained RV Units, with the addition of water after May 1st.

The park will be very, very quiet for the duration of the COVID-19 social distancing protocols. The family area of the park will be closed to recreational stays. The adult park will likely hold a dozen or two RVs. There are not that many Canadians full-timing.

I look forward to having full services for our coach and I look forward to having our patio furniture back. I’m relieved that the uncertainty around where we would live for our time in Canada has been resolved.

Come October we will need to make our way south. Will our civil rights still be limited? Will the border be open to Canadians to enter the United States?

One day at a time.

We have our site for the season.

A good day.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

the Clash

Since the COVID-19 transformed into global pandemic, I sing this song every morning usually after I read the news. That is when I start to panic. And I think we need to leave Florida and return to Canada RIGHT NOW!

Should I stay or should I go now?

We are isolated here. Very few people at our resort. Aside from a couple of bike rides in the immediate area, I haven’t been out of the property for over a week. No symptoms. We feel safe. It is sunny and it is warm. Not a bad spot to stay in place.

And the views from the front of our coach make it hard to think about leaving Myakka River Motorcoach Resort for the cold and wintery conditions in Ontario. Especially knowing that we will need to spend two weeks completely isolated whenever we do cross the border.

The clock is ticking mind you. Our health care coverage expires May 1st. Our 180 days to be in the United States is up on April 28th. We will need to be leaving here within three weeks.

Should I stay or should I go now?

Our Minister of Health is asking for our help when we return. She has a pleasant way of wording things.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says she’s looking at the option of criminal penalties for Canadian travellers who don’t follow the government’s advice to self-isolate when they return home.

“Let me be perfectly clear. We will use every measure in our tool box at the federal level to ensure compliance … we have measures that could include monetary penalties up to and including criminal penalties,” she said during her daily briefing on Parliament Hill.

“When we say that you must stay at home for 14 days, that means you stay at home for 14 days. You do not stop for groceries, that you do not go visit your neighbours or your friends, that you rest in your house for 14 days. No exceptions.”

The Quarantine Act, which was updated in 2005 after the deadly SARS outbreak, gives the federal health minister the power to designate quarantine zones and fine or jail travellers who disobey quarantine requests.

When I highlighted a concern about government surveillance in this recent post, well, look at what is already taking place in Canada and the United States.

But Forest said [Canada] evoking the Emergencies Act could also allow for more extensive data sharing, including tracing data using smartphone location data. The Washington Post reported last week that the U.S. government is in talks with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about using location data gleaned from mobile phones, including whether people are keeping a safe distance, raising serious questions around privacy. Israel’s government has already approved emergency measures to track people suspected, or confirmed to be infected with monitoring their cellphones, and a mobile-phone based “electronic fence” to keep people quarantined in their homes is one of the measures behind Taiwan’s lauded success in controlling the novel coronavirus.

“There is a lot of pressure on the ground at this moment for tracing purposes if we were able to access the data that not only the carrier but some of the private sector owns,” said Forest, who said he is hearing that some provinces and public health authorities are already trying to negotiate separate deals. “It will be so much better if it was done at a national level.”

“If I were able to have access to your cellphone I will be able to know who you have seen,” he said. “So, if you’re on the isolation list I could know if you had continued meeting people. Or if you’re a confirmed case I could trace by your GPS history where you have been and who you have seen.”

Awesome. Suspend civil liberties. Spy on citizens. All for a worthy cause no doubt. As my financial advisor told me this morning:

In wars, truth is the first casualty. This is war.

No wonder people are fussed. The news is an endless torrent of medical negativity, while common sense tells us the greatest damage to the largest number will be economic. Not sickness. Not death. But job loss on a Biblical scale. In the overall population, the number of infected is tiny. However this has caused a global meltdown. Civil liberties are being stripped away. Citizens have turned into social distance warriors and shamers. National and provincial borders have hardened. I hear people in my little town asking for road blockades. What a shame.

Government intervention to an unprecedented level in my lifetime. I do hope it is worth the carnage.

Should I go or should I stay now?

There is an upside to the social distancing what with most everything shut down. I am learning new skills. What might those new skills be you ask?

Just look at me.

Check out that hairstyle! For the first time in my adult life, I cut my own hair. With some help from Lorraine. It wasn’t that hard to do. I ordered clippers and scissors from Amazon — delivered next day to our site — reviewed a few how-to videos on YouTube and there you have it. A reasonably well-groomed COVID-19 avoider.

Here is the video I followed in case your barbershop is closed or you have been placed into isolation and your hair is getting a bit out of control.

The pandemic in the United States and Canada could well reach epic proportions in the next three weeks. There could be bans on travel. Roadblocks at state and provincial borders. Forced quarantines for travellers returning to Canada in military bases. Martial law. Curfews. Imprisonment for those foolish enough to take their dog for a walk while under orders to remain inside.

What was unthinkable even a few days ago seems probable and even inevitable.

Should I stay or should I go now?

Can’t get that darn song out of my head.

The Coronavirus and What Do We Do Now?

Should we head back to Canada today? Some Canadian retirees are being told to return home before their emergency medical coverage expires. In ten days. Here:

A number of Canadian retirees are now being told that they have until March 23 to return home to Canada before their emergency medical coverage for COVID-19 will no longer be valid.

Jeff Adams, a 66-year-old retiree from Calgary, and his wife, Helen, received an e-mail from their travel insurer on Friday evening stating that medical expenses related to the novel coronavirus would no longer be active 10 days from March 13 – the day the Canadian government issued a new global travel advisory.

I went through our policy, from Medipac, and I could only find one exclusion related to government travel advisories:

29. Travel in a country or specific area for which, prior to Your Effective Date of Insurance or Your Trip Start Date, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada has issued a travel warning advising Canadian residents not to travel to that country or specific area.

The advisory from the Canadian government:

Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

And that advisory includes travel to the United States.

The Canadian government issues two levels of advisories when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country may be compromised. Several travel insurance companies contain exclusions which allows them to withdraw coverage if the Canadian government issues a level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) or a level 4 (avoid all travel) advisory. The Canadian government is urgently recommending that all Canadians outside the country return home while they still can.

This morning I will have to confirm with our insurer that we remain covered while we are in the United States as per the original term in our policy.

Coverage is only one concern.

The Canadian government requires all returning travellers, including those returning from the United States, to self-isolate for 14-days.

Here are the instructions to self-isolate:

Instructions:

  • If you need to return home from the airport via taxi or ride-share, be sure to keep the windows down.
  • If you were out of country when the latest travel guidelines went into effect and need to get supplies for your household, try to go during off-peak hours and do your best to remain 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) away from others.

Stay home:

  • Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.
  • Do not go to work, school or other public places.
  • Your health care provider will tell you when you no longer need to self-isolate.

Limit the number of visitors in your home:

  • Only have visitors who you must see and keep visits short.
  • Keep away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, lung problems, weakened immune system)

Avoid contact with others:

  • Stay in a separate room away from other people in your home as much as possible and use a separate bathroom if you have one.
  • Make sure that any shared rooms have good airflow (e.g., open windows).

Keep distance:

  • If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two meters from others and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • If you cannot wear a mask, people should wear a mask when they are in the same room as you.

Cover your coughs and sneezes:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.
  • Throw used tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands. Lining the wastebasket with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer.
  • Wash your hands after emptying the wastebasket .

Wash your hands:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else shares.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Wear a mask over your nose and mouth:

  • Wear a mask if you must leave your house to see a health care provider.
  • Wear a mask when you are within two metres of other people.
  • Household cleaning and disinfection

Clean all “high-touch” areas such as counters, toilets, sink tap handles, tabletops, doorknobs, TV remotes, phones, and bedside tables daily using regular household cleaners.

Clean more often if surfaces become visibly soiled.

Clean any surfaces than may have blood, body fluids and/or secretions on them.

Wear disposable gloves when cleaning surfaces.

Use a diluted bleach solution (2 teaspoons of bleach to 4 cups of water) or household disinfectant.

Dishes and eating utensils should be cleaned with dish soap and hot water after each use.

Use of a dishwasher with a drying cycle also provides a sufficient level of cleaning.

Laundry:

  • Clothing and bedclothes can be cleaned using regular laundry soap and water and do not require separation from other household laundry.
  • If clothing or bedding have blood, body fluids and/or secretions, wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items, remove gloves and wash hands immediately afterwards.

Waste management:

  • All waste generated can be bagged in a regular plastic bag and disposed of in regular household waste.

Full-timing in our coach makes it a bit of a challenge to find a place to self-isolate while it is still winter in Canada.

Will we be able to return to Canada as originally planned on April 26th? Will the roads remain open until then? Will we continue to have medical insurance?

Back to the question that we need to answer today.

Should we leave Florida now?