If you feel like you’ve been practicing physical distancing for years and years, you’re not the only one! While it feels like we’ve been staying at home for a lifetime, social distancing rules in Canada is still a relatively new concept to most of us. While we know the basics, there are still a few grey areas that can cause confusion. For example, am I allowed to go for a drive during the pandemic?
Across the country, Canadians are spending a lot more time at home, and inevitably, that can get super boring.
While we know that hanging out with friends and family is a no-no, and going shopping, to the movies, or out for dinner is impossible, there are some things that aren’t so obviously a faux pas.
For example, is it ok to go for a drive? Meaning, is it acceptable to head out for a little trip in your car, either alone or with another member of your household? Not getting out of the vehicle, not meeting anybody else, just driving for a change of scenery.
According to the Sûreté du Québec, the answer is no. Over the weekend, the provincial police took to Twitter to tell residents that heading out for a spin was prohibited under local social distancing rules.
"Many of you ask us if you can go for a ride in a car, motorcycle, mountain bike, etc.” the tweet reads.
“The Quebec government strongly recommends that citizens stay at home and limit vehicle trips, regardless of the type of vehicle,” explained the SQ.
Vous êtes plusieurs à nous demander si vous pouvez aller faire des balades en auto, moto, vtt etc. Le gouvernement… https://t.co/rHgUNBOZzQ— Sûreté du Québec (@Sûreté du Québec) 1586630956.0
Similar messages have been shared across the country, as many Canadians are desperate to simply get out of the house.
However, going for a drive is not the answer, says Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
In an interview with CBC News, Dr. Robert Strang urged people to stay off the roads wherever possible, even if you don’t intend to get out of your vehicle.
"You may think it's OK getting in your car and driving about, but the fewer people we have on the roads means fewer trips to gas stations," Dr. Strang explained on Sunday. "It also means less chance of an accident."
He noted that as the country’s health care system is already stressed, motor incidents or accidents would only make this worse. Hospitals need as much free space as possible right now, he added.
While the Government of Canada hasn’t specifically spoken out about driving, their overriding message remains the same — stay indoors and only take absolutely essential trips outside.
According to Ottawa Public Health, essential trips include weekly grocery shopping, picking up medication and prescriptions, and going to work if you have to.
According to Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, the message from health officials is clear.
“If you don’t have a reason to be out, don’t be out,” he told CTV News.
Reminder: the Province of Ontario has said that we should not gather in groups of more than 5 people. Activities li… https://t.co/OWANx2HUCO— Ottawa Public Health (@Ottawa Public Health) 1586473261.0
So, if you were thinking of heading out for a little aimless drive this week, it’s probably safer to stay at home.
If you must head out, a walk outdoors in your local area is the best thing to do — keeping two metres between you and others, of course!
*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.