Staying Safe this Thanksgiving

Dear Ward 1 Friends and Neighbours. As we enter into the fall season, we are unfortunately seeing an increase in COVID-19 positive case numbers and must now take every opportunity to do our part to help prevent the spread of this virus.

With Stage 3, we saw a re-opening of the economy, and schools have now returned to classrooms, whether in person or online.  There was an underlying expectation of a second wave and the Province has now announced that it has officially arrived. I am hopeful that if residents embrace and adhere to all of the safety measures currently recommended – masks, social distancing, crowd limitations, contact tracing, hand washing etc. we can prevent the second wave case numbers from rising above those of the first wave.  Please do your part and listen to the advice of the public health officials. I have great concerns for our local economy if any further lockdown measures are initiated by upper levels of government.  We have already witnessed the difficult decision of many businesses to close due to financial strain, and many more are just barely hanging on, hoping for some economic recovery. Now more than ever, we need to support them the best we can as a community, while respecting the rules and procedures that each business has implemented to keep their customers confident and safe.

I have spoken in the past about some of the challenges that I myself (and I imagine many others) have experienced while transitioning to a work from home model. My working environment has certainly changed with the start of the school year. My partner has now gone back to work from maternity leave and each of my 6 children are now engaged daily in childcare, elementary school, high school and college. The silence in the house has certainly been a welcome addition to the working from home environment and all-day zoom meetings! No more angling the computer camera so that meeting attendees do not have to view a diaper change in the background or the multiple interruptions from curious toddlers looking for a snack or teens asking to use the car! Now that I am fully set up in this new routine, I really don’t know how I was able to do all of those meetings with the distractions in the house, and give a lot of credit to my partner for constantly juggling the activities happening on the other side of my office door.  City of Burlington senior staff have indicated that a return to the office at City Hall for a regular working schedule should not be expected until at least the new year. I am not certain that I will ever use my City Hall office as I once did, as I have become used to this new normal in my home office.

With Thanksgiving approaching, it is my hope that everyone can enjoy some form of celebration as a family. Please be cautious if you are spending time with family or friends who are not part of your social circle. We as a family have participated in “Zoom Social Hour” with friends and family during these initial stages of COVID-19 and find them very entertaining with the right mix of people and refreshments! I think this may become our standard social routine, given that the second wave is now upon us.

In these economically uncertain times, I remind all to consider those less fortunate and to donate to your local food bank or similar organization. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. 

Stay safe.

Kelvin Galbraith

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