In this Q&A, the fourth in a series of conversations with Community Living Brant staff, we speak with administrative and communications assistant Kevin Noseworthy. We discuss the shifts that staff are seeing in community as we all begin to journey outside our homes and comfort zones amid lifting pandemic mandates.
This transcript was edited for readability. This interview is also available in audio format at the bottom of this post.
Q: What are the dynamics you are noticing in community as we come out of mandates?
I’ve seen a lot of people who are hesitant. They look at other people as to whether they should be wearing a mask. Most times I’m wearing a mask; it’s not much of a hindrance so it’s better to be safe. I also do it for the protection of the employees. A lot of times, you’ll see that the employees are wearing masks and maybe a lot of the customers aren’t so, just out of respect to them, I’ll wear a mask.
Q: What are you seeing that you’d like to see more of?
Revised signage. I’ve seen some stores that said “even though restrictions have been lifted, our store is requesting masks.” That makes it a lot easier for you going in so there’s no second guessing. It’s very clear what their requests are. If they have adopted a new standpoint, where masks aren’t required, then take down the sign or put up a new sign saying it’s optional. That way people know what the store or venue is requesting.
Life might be a little different from what it was years ago, but at least we’re returning to some of the things that we enjoy doing, whether it’s sports or community activities, and getting to be with other people.
A lot of times, businesses will put their updated mandates on their website, so that way you can be prepared. It would be terrible if someone went somewhere, not having a mask on them, and in order to go in they need one. So what do they do in that instance? Do they knock on the door and request a mask? Or do they have to go home and pick one up? Or go to a store and buy one? Helping one another convey that information makes things a lot easier.
There are some frustrations. I’ve seen it where someone said, “the government just passed a bill saying that we don’t have to wear a mask.” But in certain settings it’s still mandatory, health care and that kind of thing. They didn’t understand that. They just thought it was ‘no mask anywhere.’ But that’s not the case. If you’re going on public transit, for instance, you still have to wear a mask. Communication is key.
Q: What do you think might be some next steps we could take to move in that direction?
Planning meetings and open discussions are really helpful. Signs could be available, whether it’s on municipal, provincial, or federal websites, so you could just copy and paste or print already written literature and signage. That’s the best thing that people can help with: making sure that there’s consistency, good explanation, and information available.
With the warmer weather, having that curbside pickup, so if you did forget or if you didn’t realize that they’re still requesting masking, being able to call the store and say, “I’m out front, I’m in parking lot 4, please bring out my products.” That way you’re working with them and not being inconvenienced at the same time.
Q: What do you think it would take for those steps to be as wonderfully successful as possible?
Be considerate and understanding and respect everyone’s decisions and choices. Life is short and life is precious and you need to worry about the bigger issues in life and not worry about the smaller issues. You don’t understand what certain people are going through in a day, if they’re upset about something, or if they’re having difficulty with something. Let’s just be kind to one another. There might be reasons for what they’re doing or asking. Try to work with and support them.
Q: If all that were to happen, what do you feel would be possible? And what’s the best thing that could happen?
Things will get better. This will be behind us. We’ve learned a lot from it and life will be that much better in time. Be patient and work through it. I’m looking forward to returning to life. Life might be a little different from what it was years ago, but at least we’re returning to some of the things that we enjoy doing, whether it’s sports or community activities, and getting to be with other people.
The best thing that can happen would be seeing this pandemic come to an end. No more cases. Maybe some more vaccines or medicine for anyone that contracts it so they don’t have any ailments or any major health issues that come along with it. I think that’s everyone’s wish. So hopefully more research comes and presents itself and supports us.
Q: What, if anything, have you not said yet that you’d like to say?
You take for granted little things that you once did before the pandemic. One thing that I always love when I go grocery shopping — I’d bring a coffee with me, it’s something that I enjoyed, it was my therapeutic thing. I don’t do that as often anymore. Now it’s like, “okay, we need this. I’m gonna go to this particular store — in and out.” I feel bad for the malls and the stores because you don’t have those shoppers that are casually going around and picking up things that they didn’t intend to purchase. Hopefully, in time, people can go back to enjoying spending time at the mall and supporting those stores.
Listen to an audio version of this interview here:
Lead photo cutline: Atop a tractor, as a volunteer for the Paris Soccer Club, Kevin Noseworthy mows the grass.
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