Saturday, April 11 2020
Today was supposed to be fun. I had plans and made promises to wander the streets of my neighbourhood, with a camera in hand, taking photos of families in isolation. The Front Steps Project Sudbury was supposed to bring a little humanity and connection back to these lonely days. It was meant to raise dollars for the Health Sciences North Covid-19 Support Fund while they're in dire need of it. ($1,352 in pledges to date, without taking a single photo) It was a way to use the skills and gear I possess to safely contribute to the fight against this virus. I can't sew masks, I don't deliver take-out, I do not possess a distillery capable of producing hand sanitizer, but I do have a camera and a telephoto lens that can indirectly get PPE on the faces of the health care workers we are all counting on.
In my mission to be as socially and professionally responsible as possible, I made sure to do my due diligence prior to launching this project. I reached out to HSN, a nurse assigned to the Covid Unit, GSPS, CGS Security & By-Law Services, my Ward Councillor and Public Health. I scoured press releases and read Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act with a fine tooth comb. I knew I was pushing boundaries, but there were no indications from officials that I shouldn't proceed...only thanks. I have the lens required to take photos from 50+ feet away which more than satisfies physical distancing requirements and I truly believe the rewards of my project far outweigh any perceived risk. Despite strong objections from some in the local photography community, threats and accusations of mental derangement, breaking of "pacts", unprofessionalism, and abusing loopholes, I still felt I was comfortably within my legal and moral rights to move ahead, so I did.
Alas, things change by the hour and the verbiage being used by Public Health today doesn't lend well to being anywhere but under our own roofs. In their words; "today, this wonderful gesture is not encouraged.".
I understand the importance of such messaging in the effort to #plankthecurve. I know how important it is to not overwhelm our healthcare system at this time, and I fully realize that real lives are at stake here, but I'm afraid it's going to bite us ALL in the arse if it continues to impede reasoned and safe care for the mental health of our communities...nevermind innovative efforts by small business owners to come out of this mess with as much stability as possible. Regardless, in the spirit of cooperation I put TFSPS on pause.
I fully intend to honour requests for photos when Public Health deems it ok to do so, and will continue to encourage new requests in hopes that we can get dollars to frontline healthcare workers that need PPE and equipment NOW.
While we all wait patiently for some freedom to be restored, please stay (close to) home, stay healthy, and keep finding ways to stay human! I miss you all and can't wait to see your faces.
Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses.
By 11:59 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020, businesses that are not identified on this list must close their physical locations...This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery.
If your business is able to keep operating at a distance, through telework, or online commerce you will likely be permitted to continue to stay operational throughout this period.