Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the new variants, difficult conversations may be necessary when planning gatherings with friends or family during the holiday season. (Pixabay.com)

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the new variants, difficult conversations may be necessary when planning gatherings with friends or family during the holiday season. (Pixabay.com)

EDITORIAL: Talk safety before celebrating the holidays

As COVID-19 case numbers rise, difficult conversations will be necessary

While the festive season is a time to gather for celebrations with family and friends, this year may give a bit of deja vu.

For the second year in a row, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are affecting the tone of celebrations.

Around the world, more than 270 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded, and more than 5.3 million deaths have resulted from the pandemic. Here in Canada, we have seen more than 1.8 million cases and around 30,000 deaths from COVID-19. Others are dealing with ongoing health issues as a result of an earlier bout with this virus.

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The vast majority of Canadians have been vaccinated, and this has helped to but some of the new variants can still present health risks, even to those who have had their vaccines.

Because of these chilling statistics, some will not feel comfortable being around friends and family members during this time of year. Some may have concerns about inadvertently spreading the virus to family members who are elderly or have compromised immune systems. And some may simply wish to avoid arguments between vaccinated and unvaccinated people during this time of the year.

For those who have any of these concerns or others because of the pandemic, it is important to have some difficult and potentially uncomfortable discussions before the festive gatherings begin.

These discussions shouldn’t debate or argue the reality of the ongoing pandemic. Such arguments do not change anyone’s opinions and just put a damper on the holiday spirit. Talking about personal concerns about risks however are necessary during the pandemic.

No matter one’s personal thoughts and opinions, it is important to show respect to those who may feel uncomfortable at in-person gatherings. Zoom gatherings or telephone calls are not the same as in-person celebrations, but these methods can still allow for connection.

This is the season when messages of peace and goodwill abound. It is a time when many will express their wishes of joy and good cheer. This spirit of peace and goodwill can show itself in the way we hold celebrations and festivities, even though circumstances this year are not what any of us would prefer.

— Black Press

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