CHARLOTTETOWN—When Cheryl Roberts five-year-old daughter learned Friday that she could finally hug her grandparents again, she turned to her mom and said, “This is the best day of my life.”
On Friday, Prince Edward Islands chief health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, announced some COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions would be lifted, including that gatherings of up to five people are now permitted indoors. As an added treat for Mothers Day weekend, Morrison said Islanders are now allowed physical contact—including hugs—with one or two people.
Roberts, who lives in Statford, felt such a surge of emotion at the news, describing it as the “greatest feeling in the world.”
“I started to cry, my kids were screaming and yelling and running around the house, they were so excited,” she said.
“Ive just tried so hard over the past few months to be so strong for them, and to not be upset, because my kids have had a really tough time with it. So it was very overwhelming.”
Roberts family, like many of those in the deeply connected Island province, is close-knit, and pandemic restrictions that have forced them to stay apart have taken a deep emotional toll on everyone, she said.
The province did recently ease restrictions to allow up to five people to gather together outdoors while keeping six feet of distance between each person, thanks to P.E.I.s low number of COVID-19 cases and ongoing lack of community spread of the virus.
In advance of Mothers Day, Roberts had been planning a visit with her mother following these guidelines. But with snow and rain in the forecast, their plans meant she and her children wouldve had to stay their vehicles, huddled in blankets, trying to have a Mothers Day visit outside in a snowstorm.
Now, Roberts can visit her mother in comfort at her home on Mothers Day and her children can hug their “Nanny and Poppy.”
Jillian Trainor, a journalist who lives in the Western P.E.I. town of Alberton, lives alone and has only had the companionship of her two cats through the six-odd weeks that have passed since Canadians began limiting travel outside the home to essential trips.
Going this long without any physical contact with another person has had a more profound impact than she could have anticipated, Trainor said.
“You dont realize how much you touch people in a day until you cant,” she said.
“Its been six weeks since Ive been able to hug my family and Im really starting to feel it now, because when I visit my family _ my grandfather and my aunt _ Id give my aunt a hug before I left and Id give Grampie a pat on the shoulder and a kiss on the cheek and I havent been able to do that.”
Trainor said getting that hug from her family was the first thing she thought of when she heard of the new lift in pandemic restrictions Friday. Her voice trembled with emotion just describing the feeling.
“Im really looking forward to that.”
Savannah Belsher-MacLean of Pinette was also filled with emotion when she realized she would be able to hug her mother again, especially with Mothers Day on the horizon.
She was on a video conference call for work when someone came into the call late and shared the good news.
“It was all I could do to not cry when we were on the call because I was just thinking about Mothers Day coming up this weekend and just being able to hug my mom,” she said.
“Its been so hard to not hug my mom, and Im not a super huggy person. I dont feel like I need Read More – Source