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Kendall Worth: Covid is causing many lonely Christmases this year

Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – As we all know, living through the second lockdown with the Christmas season upon us is no fun for anyone, whether you are rich or poor. Christmas this year is going to be different for all of us. 

In the world of people I advocate for, it is safe to  say that roughly 80% of them have nowhere to go over the holidays even under normal circumstances. 20% of them are lucky and do have somewhere to go at Christmas. 

Every situation with each and every person I advocate for is different from one person for the next.

Josh, Jannie, Nicole and Bill (not their real names) are four income assistance recipients who are normally among the lucky ones. But not this year. Alex, Dan and a few others who do not want to be named gave me input as well. 

They have told me recently that the one thing on their Christmas wish list for 2020 is a way to see their immediate families in a manner where public health and social distancing protocols are followed. 

They suggest such a visit could take place at a hotel in a big room where just themselves and two family members who want to see them (mainly their parents and maybe a brother or sister) are present. That way no more than four people are present in the room and they are all sitting two meters apart during the visit.

This open letter: An open letter to Premier Stephen McNeil and Ministers Kelly Regan, and Leo Glavine provides a suggestion on how this idea could work.

Christmas is going to  be different for everyone this year. I have only seen one take-out turkey dinner advertised for people who are in need. Maybe there are others doing it, but I have not seen them advertised. 

There are only a few income assistance recipients who have been able to successfully arrange to spend Christmas in bubbles with one or a couple of their peers.

Many income assistance recipients who under normal circumstances go somewhere in the city or in rural Nova Scotia to see family at Christmas, will not do so this year.

They have over this past month been doing things to prepare for this year being their first alone by-themselves at Christmas. This is not what they want to be doing at Christmas. but their families decided not to celebrate Christmas because of COVID-19. Others do not know if their families will be following the protocols. 

As well, as you may know, some people who have caught COVID-19 are not showing symptoms. We are not willing to take the risk of passing COVID-19 onto them.

I want to finish this story by talking a bit about myself as the writer of this story.

Christmas is going to be different even for me this year. I myself will not travel 40 minutes outside of Antigonish to my brother’s place, as I usually do. The good news is, I have been preparing for Christmas being different this year since October. I personally have several invites.  

Recently it was in the news that a vaccine is on the horizon. Let’s hope we are all vaccinated by next Christmas.

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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