Xenophobia is a Public Health issue. Xenophobia, in its many forms, profoundly impacts the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit says that they recognize that, at this time, people may need and want to gather to express themselves with respect to supporting efforts to end xenophobia.
“The Grey Bruce Health Unit has the responsibility to identify risk associated with any public health threat, including COVID-19. We remind people that gatherings increase the risk of transmission of disease,” said the GBHU.
In light of the of COVID-19 pandemic, the Grey Bruce Health Unit recommends that if you choose to participate in any local vigils, please be mindful that COVID-19 is still with us. Those considering taking part in gatherings are urged to do so responsibly by taking steps to keep as safe as possible to reduce the risk of transmission:
- If you are sick or have any symptoms, please stay home
- Spread out; maintain physical distancing of at least two metres when possible
- Stay outside
- Wear a cloth face mask at all times
- Bring hand sanitizer with you and also wash your hands upon returning home
- Avoid touching your face
- Consider alternatives to yelling and shouting to avoid spreading droplets
- Clean any materials that you carried during the event
If you are more susceptible to serious complications should you contract COVID-19 (e.g. older adult, have chronic illnesses or are immunocompromised), reconsider the need to be present in a large crowd; perhaps find alternative means to participate, such as virtually. Social media and virtual participation remain the safest way to take part. Those living with a vulnerable person in their household, should also consider virtual participation.
“As we approach Canada Day it is important to reflect on the fact that the strength of our country lies in its diversity,” says Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ian Arra. “From sea to sea to sea, Canadians of all backgrounds and varied origins have come together to create a society that is welcoming to all. While we acknowledge the missteps along the way, we learn from each, and use that knowledge to build a more inclusive and compassionate community. I encourage everyone to respect others with kindness and caring.”