Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at the Legislature in Victoria, Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at the Legislature in Victoria, Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

EDITOR’S COLUMN: Stop playing COVID-19 blame game

Government communications should be clear and concise

When COVID-19 cases spike, there are inevitably groups of people blamed, and most of the time I think it’s pointless.

A spike of cases has put re-opening plans in B.C. on hold.

Provincial officials announced an end to travel and an end to in-person dining for the next few weeks. It appears the variant strains of COVID-19 are leading the charge, increasing case counts and making the race for vaccine injections a perilous one.

As someone who has followed the public health suggestions to the letter since the beginning, it’s disheartening to see the government admonish people for doing things they allowed.

If you want people to stop going to bars, you have to close the bars.

Leaving bars open, and also saying people shouldn’t go is just a confusing messaging.

Allowing people to gather more would inevitably lead to people taking more risks. Blaming people for taking those risks after allowing people to take those risks is just silly.

Adding onto this confusion is the habit of governments not even signalling a change in health orders is coming.

On Friday, health officials in B.C. were asked about the possibility of a “circuit breaker.” Instead of previewing the harsher measures to come, they instead talked up vaccine efforts. What changed over the weekend to cause such a drastic change in tone?

This isn’t a health issue, this is a communications issue. I’ve seen it in provincial governments across Canada, and the federal government as well.

Health measures should be communicated clearly and concisely.

Even a question as simple as “Do grade 4 students need to wear a mask?” is up in the air. While the BC Teacher’s Federation is acting as if the government has mandated students from grades 4-12 wear masks, the government’s own order only uses the words “support” and “encourage.” COVID-19 communication needs to improve if the governments want more people to follow their rules.

Cassidy Dankochik is the Editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

READ MORE: B.C. announces amendments to school mask mandate amid COVID surge

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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