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Thunder Bay neighbours show social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation

A group of neighbours have made it a goal to gather every day while still practicing social distancing.
Social Distancing
A group of neighbours in the McKibbin Street area raise a glass of wine to show that social distancing shouldn't mean social isolation.

THUNDER BAY - As people across the country are asked to practice social distancing to fight back against the ongoing threat of COVID-19, it’s important to remember that just because we are physically distant, we can’t still be social.

One group of neighbours in Thunder Bay's north side have made a daily point of gathering together for wine and stories, while still keeping a safe distance apart.

“We’ve been gathering for the last three days,” said Sandra McDougall, who lives in the McKibbin Street area. “We’ve agreed to gather every day at 4:30, keeping our distance, every day until this is over.”

Social distancing requires people stay at least two metres away from one another to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

However, this can leave some feeling socially isolated, and McDougall said she and her neighbours didn’t want that to happen.

“We have some seniors in our neigbourhood who are living alone,” she said. “We are a pretty close neighbourhood in the first place, but we are just trying to keep everyone being social and making sure they have someone to talk to every day.”

The social gatherings started with only three people sitting in a driveway and have grown each day as more neighbours join in the circle.

“I’m sure we will keep on adding because our whole entire neighbourhood has women’s parties where we drink and eat and share stories,” McDougall said. “We are being very cautious of keeping our distance.”

McDougall said she thinks the people of Thunder Bay have been taking the COVID-19 situation seriously, but she would still like to see more people practicing social distancing.

“I did have to go today to get groceries and I saw a few too many people in the grocery store,” she said.

But just because we have to keep two metres away from one another, that doesn’t mean we can’t get together in the fresh air, enjoy a drink, and share some stories.

“It’s what we look forward to the most,” McDougall said.

For those self-isolating or in quarantine, it is recommended to stay in contact with family and friends via phone or online.


Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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