View From the Legislature

Reopening Requires Kindness

  • Kelvin Goertzen, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Steinbach

Over the past several weeks we have seen a number of services and activities reopen to Manitobans. From retail outlets to personal services such as haircuts to restaurants to outdoor recreation to indoor faith services, there have been reopening’s in many different areas. However, each of these have also come with protocols or limits that are significant as health officials try to reopen services and activities in a way that is not only safe, but that also ensures they do not have to close again. Universally health officials have heard that this needs to be a primary goal as closings are so difficult economically and emotionally for many.

And while there are many different opinions on whether openings in Manitoba and Canada are happening too quickly or too slowly, for most people they are received as a positive step. Not quite a return to normal but at least movement in that direction. But because they are happening cautiously, it means that for the businesses and activities that have reopened or restarted, things are not as they were a year ago. Capacity restrictions may mean that there are lineups to enter some stores. Restaurants are seating guests by household.

By now many of these changes are well understood by customers but that does not mean that they do not at times become frustrating. In many ways and at many times everyone feels tired. But those businesses that are operating at reduced capacity and ensuring that health protocols are being followed are staffed with individuals who may have gone through a job disruption and are dealing with many of the other challenges we all are. More than ever, it is important that kindness and grace is extended to those who are serving the public at this time.

This past week my family and I had the opportunity to be customers at several businesses that have recently reopened their doors. It was clear that they are happy to be back seeing and serving their customers but equally clear that it brings challenges as well. Extending kindness to all those involved in the retail and service industry goes a long way in helping everyone in difficult times.

And while it is positive to see many reopening’s, there are some things that still are not happening in the same way they once did. This is particularly true for fundraisers that are a feature of this time of the year in our region. The recent Steinbach Piston’s Fire and Ice Banquet and the upcoming Steinbach Arts Council Annual Gala are just two examples of many. Even while we support those many businesses and services that have reopened, to the extent you are able, please also consider lending your support to the fundraisers and other activities that are not able to go ahead as they usually would. Kindness and generosity are well known traits of our province and are as needed today as ever before.