As the Omicron variant spreads and case numbers surge in Nova Scotia, residents are once again bracing for another round of restrictions that will impact daily life.
COVID-19 fatigue and burnout have become all too familiar over the past two years. Now, with new restrictions less than 48 hours away, residents are bracing.
“You’re kind of getting tired of the lockdown, the new restrictions — every week is a different thing,” said local resident Nicholas Jefferies.
“At this point, I’m kind of getting tired.”
“It’s tough on the poor business people. I feel sorry for them, but we do what we have to do.” said Bob Sumarah.
“I don’t mind wearing masks. I think it’s a good idea, but some of the restrictions are a little too severe.”
Starting Friday, masking, gathering limits and physical distancing restrictions will tighten. Food establishments and liquor-licensed businesses must have physical distance between tables and a limit of 20 people per table.
The province has also announced most public schools will begin the holiday break on Friday, as opposed to next Tuesday.
The majority of the new restrictions were announced during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Tim Houston.
Dartmouth resident Katy Jean, who has become well known for her colourful social media commentary during the briefings, says the new restrictions were expected.
“It all feels like we’re all going back to March 2020,” said Jean, “when then we didn’t really know what was happening, restrictions were coming in, some places were cancelling, we didn’t really know what was going on.”
But even though we may be feeling apprehension and fatigue by all of these changes, experts say there are steps we can take to cope.
“Finding ways to stay connected with people, finding ways to still do things that matter to you,” said Halifax psychologist Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley. “The real trick there is the psychological flexibility about being willing to let it look different.”
Dr. Lee-Baggley says with the holidays being one of the stressful times of any year for many, it’s now more important than ever to reach out for extra help.
“You want to think about the things that you have under your control, which is really our own behaviour,” she said. “The things that are important to you, finding different behavioural ways to express them.”
As for Katy Jean, she says her way of remaining optimistic is looking ahead to the future.
“Children are starting to get vaccinated, so if we really, really buckle down just for the children to get their first dose, that’s a big motivation,” she said.
“If we can keep the restrictions up and the virus low, we’re doing it for the kids.”