In the wake of fast-changing COVID-19 regulations, third-year St. Thomas University student Grace Schnyder is happy with the change to the yellow phase, but still has some reservations.
Since Schnyder’s boyfriend moved to Saint John in January, restrictions kept them from seeing each other.
“I keep the [COVID-19] infographic up on my laptop,” said Schnyder. “I’m always keeping track.”
If both zones have less than five cases then she feels comfortable travelling to Saint John but since they are part of two different bubbles, it’s hard to keep a steady 15.
She has only seen her boyfriend once in the last three months, when travel between the two zones was cleared. Not seeing him was especially hard when customers at her workplace, Michaels, would admit they had been to Saint John the day before.
“It’s really frustrating sometimes,” she said.
Schnyder is not the only student who is upset. Her roommate, Leonardo Furtado, said working during the pandemic presents a whole new set of problems.
Furtado, who works at Starbucks, said he doesn’t know where his coworkers go out and working closely with coworkers can widen his bubble unintentionally. On long shifts when no one is looking, it is not uncommon for workers to take off masks, he said.
“It’s frustrating to never know where [the province is] going,” said Furtado. “Maybe in two weeks, we might just return to red and then the government will have to come up with new things.”
When Fredericton went into the red zone in January, Schnyder and Furtado stayed home and didn’t see anyone besides their roommates until Fredericton moved to orange. Renting a house with six other roommates made the risk of exposure higher.
“We all made a pact to stay home,” said Furtado. “Not going out with everyone else, just protecting each other.”
Schnyder thought one of the reasons Fredericton initially went into the red zone was because of holiday parties around December, even though she complied with COVID-19 regulations. She said it’s obvious that no one knows what they’re doing.
Sometimes, Schnyder said being safe means being more or less strict than what restrictions recommend. She finds it strange that at one point during the orange phase, Fredericton had no cases but now in yellow, it has more and people are still allowed to travel between zones.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Schnyder likes how the new yellow zone has fewer people in a bubble than before. Still, more than anything, it is the low case numbers that have eased her mind.
Schnyder sees her boyfriend more often than she did in the orange phase, but she’s still hesitant because it widens her bubble.
For now, she feels safe enough to return to her favourite breweries and coffee shops. She said it’s the payoff for maintaining a small bubble.
“It sucks,” said Schnyder. “But if we are going to stay safe, it’s the way.”