As B.C.’s vaccination efforts ramp up, some residents in Victoria are cautiously optimistic about what lies ahead.
This past week, the province moved into phase two of their COVID-19 vaccine plan, meaning the general public will start receiving shots based off age groups.
In addition to more vaccines being administered, the province also announced this week that University students will resume in-person learning in September, and also eased up social gathering restrictions.
The developments would indicate the B.C. could be headed for the home stretch in our fight against COVID-19, leaving Victoria residents with mixed emotions about what lies next.
“I think it’s extremely important, not only for the economy but for everyone’s mental health to get out there and try to get back much normalcy as possible,” said one Victoria resident who was out for a Sunday stroll along Dallas Road.
“I think people need to understand we’re in an unknown territory, and they said we wouldn’t have a vaccination for how long? And now we’re seeing them, and yes there’s hope on the horizon, but who knows how long that will take,” said another man in Victoria.
Experts say how people feel about re-opening will depend on how much the pandemic has impacted their lives.
“I think we’ll all have a different tolerance for change and increasing our risks, it’s not going to be a one-stop and we celebrate, this is going to be a long rollout of slowly decreasing anxiety,” said Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, a professor of psychology at the University of Victoria.
After a year of isolation, extreme sacrifices, and tragedies for many, just how much longer can people tolerate this altered lifestyle?
Leadbeater says the anxiousness and pain is understandable, but with light at the end of the tunnel, any slip-ups at this point would hurt even more.
“If our relative were to catch COVID and die, at this point, it would be even more tragic because we sort of feel like the end could be near,” said Leadbeater. “It would be like going to war and dying the week before you were supposed to go home.”