EDITORIAL: Consistent COVID-19 messaging needed from B.C. leaders

NEWS ITEM: B.C. is stopping indoor dining and liquor sales, indoor adult group fitness and indoor religious services for the next three weeks, in what provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry calls a “circuit breaker” for a fast rise in COVID-19 cases.


It’s another kick in the teeth for businesses and an indication of how far we still have to go in dealing with the ongoing pandemic. And the path to normalcy (if we can ever call it that again) won’t be nearly as smooth without some more consistent messaging from our leaders.

Let’s be clear, we are still all in this together. We need to continue our vigilance, following mask-wearing and social distancing protocols. And listen to the doctors and scientists, not the graduates from the University of Facebook.

RELATED: B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service due to COVID-19 spike

But it’s tough for people if the messaging is inconsistent.

Are we “on the right track,” as our premier said recently, or are we backsliding, as recent case numbers suggest?

Are school children supposed to wear masks now, or is it a recommendation? Which school districts does this rule/recommendation/suggestion apply to? Why Grade 4s and not Grade 3s?

Which sports are allowed and which ones are not?

One day it’s OK to return to church with special guidelines, but the next day it’s reversed.

Are vaccination schedules keeping up with variants?

And on and on.

We understand it’s an ever-changing landscape, but more recently, it seems like there is more confusion than ever.

How are the restaurant or gym owners, who have diligently made needed changes to their business models and never had a hint of COVID, supposed to react?

And their employees, given scant notice that they might be off for three weeks? Simply shutting it all down without immediately indicating possible support for all those involved makes it seem like the overall plan has some gaping holes.

Premier John Horgan said recently that case counts have been “unacceptably high,” and it is mainly people aged 20 to 39 who are spreading the coronavirus.

“We’ve come a great distance, but we cannot blow it now,” Horgan said. “We need to focus on individual responsibility for the greater good.”

The overall message there is acceptable but also has holes. Are we now blaming one specific group for the latest numbers?

Are the politicians on the same page as the medical professionals and public health officials?

If you try to be all things to all people, you will fail.

Just give us clear messaging, and we will adapt. Harsher penalties, stricter guidelines – whatever it takes. Just provide some clarity. Wishy-washy is never a good look.

The overwhelming majority of people are very diligent. Don’t let their efforts go to waste.


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