The Monday Blog

Back in the news more shutdowns

 April 11, 2021

By  Lorhainne Eckhart

Last week brought more shutdowns, more restrictions, and those who will be affected most are the segment of the population that make up the frontline workers, the same ones who’ve had the shit kicked out of them from the beginning of this pandemic.

I was one of many who listened in horror as the leader of our province blamed those aged 20 to 39 for our current predicament, a rise in COVID cases, before announcing another shutdown. This will close restaurants, from indoor dining to bars, as well as much of the service industry. The anger that followed from our millennials resonated with me and had me asking, are all leaders so out of touch with the younger generation? Millennials are now parents, raising young kids, and are the hardest-working segment of the population, the ones working for very low salaries in grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, and bars. They are the ones living with roommates and in shared accommodations, renting because they can’t afford the high price of owning a home.

One of my kids, my son, falls right into that category. For the leader of the province to call such people out and blame them only throws gasoline on the fire. It has me asking, if you have job security, own the roof over your head, and will never have to worry about renting or feeding your family or having a job tomorrow, are you really the right person to stand there and tell people that we all have to sacrifice, that we’re all in this together? What followed was blasted all over the news: A restaurant at a ski hill advertised half-price drinks and food before the midnight shutdown, and it was flooded with young people dancing on tables, crowding with no masks.

Of course, the restaurant owner is being tarred and feather along with the young people who basically lifted their middle fingers to the province and the orders. Honestly, I saw that coming. But can I blame the young people or the restaurant for what happened? Not really. The restaurant owner wrote an apology, and his future is now in jeopardy, and many of the employees at the ski hill have been fired, but it’s solved nothing. Considering they’re struggling to begin with, I don’t think it’s helpful to blame an entire generation for the bad choices of a few. Maybe the reaction of those young people wasn’t ideal, but when you’re not heard and it feels as if you’re continually being stepped on and ground into the ground, what happens is protests, parties, and anything opposite of what is ordered.

Then follows more outrage at our young people because they’re not doing and saying as they’re told. The government here is kind of like a bad parent who criticizes instead of figuring out another approach, like maybe lifting people up and inspiring them, giving them hope by figuring out what needs to change to help the millennial generation. Calls for the premier to apologize resulted in him broadcasting from his desk, giving an absolute no. He will not apologize even though the restaurant owner did. Not our leader! That kind of arrogance will only backfire on him. If you screw up, apologize. I have far more respect for someone who makes a mistake and actually apologizes than I do for someone who refuses.

With the announcement of a midnight shutdown again, my first thought was of my daughter and my son and how this will affect them. I booked a table at a local restaurant for that night, making a reservation because I had a feeling it might be busy. That was an understatement. Apparently, the locals were of the same mindset as me, as there was a really long lineup when we arrived. It was kind of like a last supper, a way to support an industry that is drowning and trying to stay afloat. We went out to support those workers, those waitstaff, the millennials who will suddenly be out of a job. At least this was a way of giving some extra tip and gratuity money to them. But it was there in the sadness in their faces, that financial insecurity. Despite the mental stress alone, especially for that age group, I don’t think I’ve heard one leader yet say that the government will do something to help the young people. The challenges they face are far different from the challenges of the older generation, who have financial security.

There are young people who aren’t going to have a high school graduation, who don’t know whether they’ll have a job tomorrow, who won’t be able to pay their rent and keep a roof over their head, who work on the front line while raising young kids, getting out of bed in the morning wondering how they’ll make it. This is a generation that has been isolated from their friends and barred from having a social life. I don’t know, but as I listen to these arbitrary lockdown decisions, I have to wonder, if every young person decided not to show up for work tomorrow, what would be left open for the older generation?

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