VISSER: COVID restrictions are toying with the futures of students and young adults

Forget about your futures, COVID is more important!

Saturday Night is one of few nights a week in which students like to let loose and mingle with each other — whether it be with their housemates or their neighbours down the road. 

But the ladder is frowned upon during our current “new normal” times.

On Saturday, Doug Ford announced his new emergency orders which lowered the amount of people allowed at gatherings from 100 outdoors and 50 indoors to 25 outdoors and 10 indoors.

I continue to live in student housing in the lower doon area of Kitchener, Ont., even after graduating from Conestoga College. Nine people live in my house — this really limits the amount of people we as a household can legally have over. 

While I was enjoying some leisure time with my roommates, we witnessed a by-law officer talking to my neighbours next door. She left and we assumed that would be the end of her for the night — It wasn’t. 

I like to question why by-law patrolled the Lower Doon area for more than two hours on the evening of Saturday, Sept., 19, 2020.

Yes, the City of Kitchener has had a proactive program in effect for many years now, but as a resident of the area, I have never noticed such vigilant patrolling of my road.

“For many years the City of Kitchener has had a proactive bylaw enforcement program in the Lower Doon area. Bylaw officers proactively monitor the area for noise, garbage, and parking matters with the aim to help educate residents and reduce the number of complaints. Also, with new provincial orders regarding unmonitored private social gatherings announced on Sept 19, city bylaw officers are designated by the province to enforce these new social gathering regulations,” said Shawn Falcao of Communications and Marketing for the city of Kitchener in an email.

When will students and young people get sick of it?

I’ve lived here for over two years now, and the only time I’ve witnessed bylaw come by is to respond to calls of rambunctious house parties (usually from my old neighbours who would have parties every chance they could get).

I witnessed the same by-law officer on my street two times in the same evening. I saw her drive by a third time to surveil Durham Street where she sat parked for a bit.

Later, my roommates and I were on our way back from a walk when I witnessed what was more than likely the same by-law vehicle drive away past us from my area of Lower Doon sometime past midnight.

“Sowing the seeds that will impact the rest of their lives.”

A wise man once told me that these are the years of a young person’s life when they will be sowing the seeds that will impact the rest of their lives. This is the stage of one’s life to mingle, make friends, date, and find that special someone that he / she will eventually marry.

But thanks to emergency orders put in place by the Ontario government because of an “egregious” up tick in cases resulting in so many daily deaths (in all of Canada) you can count them on your hands — young Ontarians aren’t allowed to plan their futures, mingle and be regular teenagers or students.

“What about online dating?,” you might ask. In my opinion;

  1. Tinder is used by many — generally only for the purpose of hookups.
  2. Bumble is better, but much like Tinder doesn’t beat the real-life experience of dating.
  3. Other apps aren’t used much by the younger generation to my knowledge.
  4. I would personally rather meet someone in person than through my phone.

Oh, and don’t forget that according to Dr. Tam you should wear a mask during sex and use glory holes to prevent the spread of COVID-19, — as Charlie Brown would say — “good grief.”

Mental health impacts

With all this comes a rise in suicide rates among Canadians, and with that I’m sure will come a rise amongst young Canadians. 

21,200 Canadians were hospitalized and 3,800 died in 2019 due to self harm. Experts only but predict that number will rise by 2,100 in the next year due to COVID related issues.

Let’s not forget that social media is a key factor in mental health issues among youth.

“Suicide has become the second-most common cause of death for Canadian youth, and the percentage of teenagers in Ontario reporting moderate to serious mental distress rose from 24 per cent in 2013 to 39 per cent in 2017,” says a CTV News article.

But let’s just put them in front of computers and cellphones all day long for classes and communication — all as COVID deaths have increased as little as one to 15 deaths a day since July 9, 2020.

Restrictions are ramping up and I don’t think every young person is able to handle the abrupt changes to their lifestyles and futures much longer. To put it frankly — they’re going to get sick of it and unfortunately it’s going to lead to some very dire consequences if things don’t change.

@BroderickVisser via Twitter

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