‘We don’t feel deprived and enjoy what we do have’

We are following the reports about COVID-19 in the Netherlands. Since July we have been amazed at the fact that MP Mark Rutte and the entire cabinet went on vacation. Nobody kept an eye on following the guidelines. The result of course was that many other Dutch people also went on holiday and brought COVID-19 home in their suitcase.

When you leave your own bubble, the chance of contamination increases. Everyone thought it wouldn’t happen to them, with such low numbers of sick people.

In Canada, the border with the US and all other countries is still closed to unnecessary travel. There is a heavy fine of CAD $ 1500. And when it is necessary to travel, 2 weeks of quarantine is required, also for travel within Canada. People are not allowed to go to their cottages, even when it is their second home. PM Justin Trudeau broke this rule, as he had already been quarantined. That earned him a lot of criticism.

We have not visited anyone

Only when you stay at home you cannot receive nor pass on the virus. That still remains the general advice. Still, numbers have increased in major cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The streets there are busier and young people visit each other. In Ontario with a population of nearly 15 million people, there are 6,050 active cases (+700 per day).

We ourselves have not visited anyone since March. I still go to the supermarket on my own for the necessary groceries, sanitize hands and use sanitized shopping carts. Now with a mandatory face mask.

Our daughter had Meuse Farm Market open from Mother’s Day to mid-October. This is a shop with seasonal products from the region; fresh strawberries, fresh asparagus, fresh fruit and vegetables, hanging plants and patio plants and ice cream. We went there twice a week for groceries and a chat, with a mask and keeping distance of 1.5 meters. Customers go there for fresh local produce and to avoid the crowds at supermarkets.

From 1 July, the restaurants were allowed to open again outside. We enjoyed it through the summer. However, in the summer Canadians are used to sitting indoors in airconditioned spaces. It took some getting used to for them.

Now everyone is back inside, at a distance and a mouth mask until you are at your table. Some restaurants are open for takeout only. Our outdoor growing season has now ended and Meuse Farm Market is closed again. Currently, our county has 10 active cases out of 110,000 inhabitants (+1 per day).

We don’t feel deprived

We have a lot of space around us in Canada, can go outside in our own environment. Our property covers 20 hectares and has its own forest. We pick up a meal at a local restaurant twice a week, instead of eating out.

We don’t feel deprived and enjoy what we do have and we empathize with the people who are actually losing something; their job, their business, their health, their life. Sacrifices are also made by people who work in healthcare, who (here too often for too little money) do what they can to make life bearable for other people.

The summer season has ended in our company. Autumn is our quietest season, especially now that the garden centers and farm markets are closed again. After Thanksgiving on October 12th, we are slowly moving towards Christmas. Bromeliads do not have big sales then.

Our summer staff, from mid-May to mid-September, are back home or to school. Because of COVID-19, they had to send a text message every day before they came to work that they had no symptoms of COVID-19 and that they had not been in contact with suspected cases or had not traveled.

We have so far escaped the dance. We would like to keep it that way. Our suitcase stays in the closet.

Angelle van Kleef,

Grower of pot plants, Ontario, Canada

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