Every week, it seems like Alberta inches closer to a second lockdown.
In recent weeks, the Alberta government has placed the Calgary region – including Airdrie, Cochrane and Rocky View County (RVC) – under "enhanced" status due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Airdrie and Cochrane enacted mandatory mask bylaws soon after; RVC, notably, still does not require masks in public.
Then, on Nov. 12, Premier Jason Kenney announced a new host of restrictions. In our area, bars and restaurants must stop liquor sales early, fitness classes and team sports are banned and houses of worship must operate at one-third capacity. Other voluntary restrictions apply to informal social gatherings at home.
We wonder how effective voluntary restrictions will be. We've seen online observations that people predisposed to following them likely already were.
At this point, everyone must acknowledge the terrible truth. The dreaded second wave of COVID-19 is here. Local cases have already exceeded the springtime peaks.
The thought of going back into lockdown is terrifying for a variety of reasons – more job losses, devastating impacts on the economy and concerns about people's mental health. It leaves us with knots in our stomachs. But if trends continue on the trajectory they are currently headed, it seems like it's only a matter of time until we're sheltering back in homes.
Nobody – our newspaper included – wants a second lockdown. It's frustrating, therefore, to see the most vocal opponents of such a measure also regularly flout the less intrusive precautions they're asked to follow. This flagrant attitude ruins things for everyone else who is doing their best to socially distance, cover their faces and stay home when ill.
Alberta is at the point of a trade-off. Restrictions will either be voluntary or mandatory. You can choose to wear a mask when you go out, or everyone will be forced to not go out at all. Every individual must make choices with the collective good in mind.