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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Shovelling outside your door after a snowstorm — a month ago, no one would blink an eye, give a second thought to being seen performing this routine chore.
Wednesday, as The Telegram sought to get some outdoor weather photos — while keeping the appropriate physical distance, something a little bit remarkable happened, in that people did not want to be identified for fear of doing something against the COVID-19 rules, or being bashed on social media.
None of them said they had travelled or were in self-quarantine for any reason.
By no means was it a scientific poll — really just an accidental observance.
One man flat out said no.
Another allowed his photo to be taken, but would not give his name.
Another man gave his name, but expressed a concern that at first he thought the photo was being taken for Facebook-shaming purposes.
A store operator on Water Street also declined a photo of him shovelling for similar reasons. (The store falls in an accepted category of retail that are allowed to remain open.)
As penalties toughen for those who are supposed to be self-quarantining but break the rules, it would appear there are some outside that category who are following guidelines, but worry about being seen outside.
Asked to clarify the rules during the daily media briefing Wednesday, chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald reiterated people can be outside if they keep their distance from others.
If someone comes home from travel, is self-quarantining and has no symptoms, they can also be outdoors for a walk, while staying away from others, Fitzgerald said.
“Keep your distance from anyone even without being in quarantine,” she said.
The Emergency Public Health Protection Order issued in Newfoundland and Labrador this week prohibits public gatherings of more than 10 people.
Premier Dwight Ball said earlier in the briefing that people should stay home to help flatten the curve, and noted the bad weather Tuesday night was a good deterrent to unnecessary outings.
“Today in St. John’s we are experiencing some bad weather, so I am just fine with that,” he said.
The provincial government has produced a guide to safe and unsafe activities for the public.
If you must go to public spaces for essentials, such as grocery stores, maintain a physical distance of six feet away from other people.