gifts

EDITORIAL: No, Christmas isn’t cancelled

COVID-19 vaccine is the start of a long road back to a version of normal

Christmas Eve has arrived. For many of us, that means we can finally pause, take a deep (mask-free) breath and enjoy the company – whether in-person or online – of the people we love.

To be sure, we’ve had a bit of a head-spinning few weeks this month, with the news that Health Canada had approved a COVID-19 vaccine, followed by an announcement that thousands of doses were on their way to B.C. The next thing we knew, front-line health-care workers were being jabbed by the hundreds.

The number of British Columbians who have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine continues to climb every day, and another vaccine, from Moderna, is likely to be approved soon.

READ MORE: Health Canada authorizes use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

In a way, it’s like Christmas has already come.

But because it’s 2020, it can’t all be good news. Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed what most of us already anticipated, announcing that tight restrictions on gatherings with people outside our household will remain in place until at least Jan. 8. It’s the right decision, as hard as it may be to accept.

By making it clear early on exactly what the rules are, Dr. Henry has no doubt forestalled a lot of plans made “just in case.”

If the restrictions had been announced too late, there would have been pressure for some people to just follow through anyway, to visit with grandma and grandpa, to go on that ski weekend with friends, to gather in ways that would have helped spread the virus.

Christmas isn’t cancelled, but it certainly won’t be normal this year.

Looking back five or 10 years from now, though, it’s sure to bring smiles as people recall Christmas 2020, when families shared festive meals and gift-opening sessions via Zoom.

Things will start to improve over the coming months, but it’s going to happen far more slowly than we would like. Mass vaccination of the very elderly first will save lives, but serious cases can crop up in any age group. We won’t be able to pack sports stadiums and movie theatres for a long while yet, and there will be months to come of masks and virtual meetings.

That’s fine. Christmas isn’t a day, it’s a celebration with family. When we can get together, we will, even if the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes are served out on the back patio, and ugly Christmas sweaters have been replaced by T-shirts and flip-flops.

Whatever your Christmas plans – and whomever they include – we hope the day brings you joy and peace.

Black Press Media


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A phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Belfast, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020. The United Kingdom, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, is beginning its vaccination campaign, a key step toward eventually ending the pandemic. (Liam McBurney/Pool via AP)

A phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Belfast, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020. The United Kingdom, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, is beginning its vaccination campaign, a key step toward eventually ending the pandemic. (Liam McBurney/Pool via AP)