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Got your Birks? Memes abound after N.S. top doctor says it’s ‘not the time’ to buy sandals

Click to play video: 'Dr. Robert Strang says ‘it is not the time’ to be shopping at Costco for sandals' Dr. Robert Strang says ‘it is not the time’ to be shopping at Costco for sandals
WATCH: During a news briefing Friday in which Nova Scotia reported its highest COVID-19 case count yet, the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, implored people to stop shopping for non-essential goods like sandals – May 8, 2021

Birkenstock memes were bountiful after Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health implored people to stop buying non-essential goods – like sandals — amid tightened COVID-19 public safety measures.

Dr. Robert Strang made the comments during a news briefing Friday afternoon, as the province recorded its highest-ever single-day increase in COVID-19 cases.

Under current restrictions, only stores that sell essential items are able to stay open for in-person shopping. Stores that sell both essential and non-essential items are now being asked to stop selling non-essential items.

“We are asking businesses to promote contactless payment and pickup where possible … For those who must do in-person shopping, you must do so for essential items only,” said Strang Friday.

Read more: Nova Scotia announces another death, record-breaking 227 new COVID-19 cases

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He referenced a sale on Birkenstocks at Costco, where the popular sandals were being sold for $59.99.

“It is not the time to go to Costco for sandals that you heard were in stock. It’s critical you limit your trips,” said Strang.

Social media users in Nova Scotia were quick to run with Strang’s comments, with people posting photos of themselves wearing Birkenstocks and assuring the doctor that they already had their sandals and they’re staying at home.

One of them was former premier Stephen McNeil, who uploaded a picture of his Birkenstock-clad feet to Twitter and Instagram and told people to “listen to the Good Doctor.”

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The photo of McNeil’s feet was later uploaded to wikiFeet, a fetish website dedicated to photos of celebrities’ feet, and, as of Saturday morning, got a rating of two stars out of five, based on two reviews.

Strang himself joined in on the memes Saturday afternoon, posting a photo of his own Birkenstocks with the hashtag #thisisnotthetime.

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And, “Costco” was trending on Twitter in Canada Saturday morning.

Within hours of Strang’s comments Friday, a Cape Breton-based business even got in on the action, posting a photo on Instagram of buttons bearing an image of Birkenstocks and the words, in all capitals: “It is not the time.”

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It’s not the first time Nova Scotians jumped at the opportunity to create memes out of things that have been said at the province’s regular COVID-19 news conferences.

Read more: Premier’s ‘delightfully Nova Scotian’ cry to respect physical distancing goes viral

Last year, then-premier McNeil’s plea for people to “stay the blazes home” went viral, inspiring memes, merchandise and even a song.

Despite the lighthearted way people interpreted his comments, Strang underscored the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation in Nova Scotia during Friday’s briefing.

He said he was “exhausted and extremely worried” about the province’s spiking case counts and urged people to follow public health restrictions to keep the case numbers down.

“My teams are exhausted, the health-care system is exhausted, but none of us are giving up and you cannot give up either,” he said. “I need your help. We need your help. We are all in this together.”

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