2021- everything is supposed to be sorted now, right? Maybe not quite yet. Our health care systems are under intense pressure as Covid cases sore. In Bantry, we have gone from hearing of no one close by with the virus, to it feeling like every second person either has it or is awaiting a test.
Today, I got a positive result.
I’m not all that sick, apart from a very mild sore throat and an irritating cough which I’d normally put down to that annoying habit of our bodies to store up minor ailments for when we stop working after a busy period. If I hadn’t been a close contact of a positive case, I wouldn’t have gone for a test at all. But I was, I did, and it’s positive.
I am incredibly lucky. I have choices. I do not have to go into work, or contact an employer and hope that they are understanding and treat me fairly. I have a room at home in which I can isolate. Since Christmas, I have had very few contacts, just one in fact, and that was someone I would have considered very much a part of my bubble.
But before Christmas, and over the holidays when we really knew better, I did have contacts. Christmas week we opened for tapas and brunch. The weekend before Christmas, as the cases were rising and NPHET were calling on the Government to impose further restrictions, Emer and I spoke about not opening for Christmas week. All the advice from Government was that it was still safe, and they did not appear in any rush to make a decision, so we stuck to our plan. Listening to the predictions from NPHET, that there would be a surge in cases after Christmas, we did preemptively decide that Christmas Eve would be our last day trading in 2020. Later, that was something the Government decided would be rolled out across the country, with hospitality being told to shut down indoor dining at 3pm on Christmas Eve.
We spent Christmas day alone with no visitors, as we had planned to have three family members over for St Stephen’s day dinner. Despite our nervousness, we went ahead with that. At the time I thought, right one last interaction then that is it for a month. It’ll be just us in the house ‘till February. That was foolish. It was already too late.
On the 30th of December I was notified that I was a close contact of a positive case. On the First of January I had a test, and today (03.01.21) I received a positive result. As I said, I have some mild symptoms, but no one else in the house is showing any signs. Here’s hoping it stays that way.
This is not solely the Government’s fault. We made the decision to stay open on Christmas week when we were unsure if it was the right thing to do. We made the decision to have 3 close family members visit on St. Stephen’s Day, again in spite of our nervousness. The Government’s decision making (and importantly, lack of timely decision making!) did allow us the space to make those choices. While now I wish we had known better, you would hope that the Government would have far better access to information which would allow them to make better informed decisions for our country. You would also hope they could do that in a timely manner, allowing businesses and communities the time and space to adjust plans accordingly.
To see the Taoiseach make a speech in which he placed the lion’s share of the blame for this massive rise in case numbers on the UK variant, despite there being no evidence to back this up, is galling. While we can, and do, take responsibility for our actions, it is important that the government also take responsibility when they get things wrong. They got this very wrong. It is difficult now to read people tweeting the quivilent of “we all partied”; blaming people for doing “the dog on it” over the holidays when really everyone knew exactly what would happen. This is simply hindsight, and it is unfair. We did not do the dog on it. The people we are close to did not attend anything like a party, or act in any way which the Government guidelines allowed for. and encouraged.
For now, we can continue to safely ship games. If that changes we will take down the webstore temporarily. We are suspending our click and collect service for Bantry, simply due to the very large volume of cases in the local area. We do not want to put anyone else at risk.
We will reopen when WE decide it is safe to do so. This Government can not be trusted to make the right call, so we will trust the medical professionals. I do not know when this might be, but I would not expect it to be before late February or early March given the current situation.
Please trust yourself, and trust each other. We got the case numbers down to the lowest levels in Europe. We can do that again.
Stay Home. Stay Safe. Take care of each other.