Editorial: Don’t stop in store to chat, take it outside

Physical distancing remains important strategy for preventing spread of COVID-19

You’re tired of being cooped up indoors and decide to go out and pick up some groceries.

By the dairy section, you bump into an acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while. The two of you park your shopping carts to stop and chat.

Under normal, pre-pandemic circumstances, depending on how busy the store is, this may be perfectly acceptable.

But these are still not normal circumstances. While provincial restrictions have been easing, we are still living amid a pandemic in which close, person-to-person interactions with people from outside our “bubble” increase the potential for spreading the virus.

Recent reports on the pandemic published on nature.com, including one by staff at the University of California at Berkley, found that government shutdown orders and other policies limiting the size of social gatherings and promoting physical distancing have prevented an estimated 530 million infections from occurring in six countries.

Read more: Salmon Arm grocery stores designate shopping time for at risk customers

Read more: Amid COVID-19 panic, B.C. psychologist urges shoppers to not clear out grocery stores

Our provincial health minister, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has repeatedly reminded us throughout the pandemic of the importance of physical distancing, and continues to do so, even with the easing of restrictions.

“We know that closed spaces, close contact and crowds are higher risk, so anything that involves these things will continue to have restrictions…,” said Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix in a June 16 release.

“What also stays the same are the personal measures we are all following to keep ourselves safe and protect those we care for most. These are our foundations and our path forward.”

Henry and Dix added the most effective way to manage COVID-19 is to work together, to take care of each other and do our part.

So if you bump into someone in the store and want to chat, do yourselves and those around you a solid and take it outside.

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