When May comes I always think of this ditty my Mom use to sign about May, the virgin Mary, rain and a famous department store in Montreal called Dupuis et Frères which lasted in business for more than 120 years but due to changing trends disappeared in 1978. The funny thing about Dupuis was that it marketed itself as the store of the People and of the housewife. In direct competition with other big department stores on Sainte Catherine street like Morgan’s, Simpson’s and Eaton’s seen as the department stores of the English speaking Montrealer who lived West of Saint-Laurent Blvd. which runs North-South across the Island of Montreal.
It was a silly song and always made us laugh as kids, I never forgot it, it was part of the lore of French culture in Montreal. In fact I am not sure that maybe Dupuis et Frères started this little song in order to publicize their store and sell umbrellas and other rain gear, May being known apparently as a rainy month. The tune was taken from a religious hymn dedicated to the Virgin Mary sung in French Catholic Parishes in Montreal.
So we have now been in this so called lock down for 44 days, it should be called Stay at Home movement because you can still go out but it is not encouraged. As of tomorrow the Government of PEI and of all the other Canadian Provinces will start to relax the restrictions. Now depending where you live in Canada each Province has its own schedule for relaxing the rules. However if anything goes wrong or if anyone is doing something foolish which would cause a second wave of Covid 19 to appear, we will go straight back into full lockdown. Unlike our neighbour to the South, we have been told sternly many times, we are not going back to the way things where before March 11 when the Pandemic hit us. Meaning that life will not be the same and businesses will have to change the way they operate. The Premier of PEI, Dennis King like all the other Provincial Premiers always start by emphasizing that measures taken including the 3 phases now being introduced on three separate dates to relax restrictions are done following the advice of the Chief Medical Officers of the Province. So it’s not a political thing, it’s a Public Health thing. It’s a go slow approach. Currently PEI has 3 cases recuperating at home and no new ones for the last 14 days, no deaths and no hospitalization. All of our 27 Covid 19 cases where due to foreign travel.
We are maintaining the State of Emergency until end of May for the time being. This means that NO one who is not a resident of PEI can come here, the borders remain closed. So all the people who live elsewhere but come here in the Summer to their Cottage are forbidden from coming and will be turned away either at the bridge or ports or at the airport which is closed anyway.
So tomorrow we will be allowed to meet with friends up to a total of 5 persons in the drive way of your home but a 6 feet spacing must be maintained at all times to avoid the fine of $1000 dollars. The weather is really nice now and getting warmer so it is going to be difficult for people, but its a start. The Setting date for the Lobster Season is 18 May and private recreational fishing starts also around 11 May, many got their fishing licences this week and everyone kept the 6 feet apart in the line up at the Government Office. I was at the Liquor Store today and you have to wait outside in line 6 feet apart. People are really good about it and everyone is reasonable. Same at the Grocery store, though there is a lot of confusion because you have to follow the arrows on the floor. Golf Clubs will re-open but not the Club House.
We have also been told that we must eat more French Fries, lots more. Who knew the new diet lots and lots of French Fries, there is a surplus of potatoes something like 200 million pounds of potatoes in Canada. PEI produces some 25% of all potatoes eaten in Canada. It’s good for you, so enjoy!!! You must do your duty for the Country and to help Farmers. PEI being an agricultural Island, we get the message.
Phase Two is when it gets more interesting. We will have to wait until Friday 22 May to get a haircut or have your dog groomed or be allowed to congregate with 10 friends staying 6 feet apart (social distancing) is a big thing now. So I called my barber made an appointment and the dog groomer for Nicky and Nora and also my garage to have my Summer tires installed and get my Annual Safety check done on the car. We also have until 1 June to put in our Income Tax report, the Federal Government gave all a 30 day reprieve this year. If you are 65 yrs old and over, you have until 1 September to pay any owed Income Tax, usually there is no such thing.
Businesses can also start re-opening but again people are strongly encouraged to work from Home until the Pandemic passes, which could be around Christmas time. Restaurants and bars still cannot open for in room dining, only pick-up at the curb is allowed. However after 22 May, manicure, pedicure, elective surgery and other simple procedures will be allowed. But it will have to be regulated to avoid any relapse. This is what everyone is afraid of, the second wave. We had a few business types cry on the radio about how difficult it is for them, but they got little to no sympathy from the public.
The big thing the Confederation Centre of the Arts is closed for the Summer, this mean no Summer Festival, no theatre and no Anne of Green Gables, a first in the 55 years the show has been running. But without the tourist, who would go see it?
Schools will also remain closed until September, meaning kids have been at home since March 13. Parents have gained a new appreciation for the hard work of teachers and many have written thank you notes to teachers. The little darlings are not so sweet when you are stuck with them at home 24/7. Many parents work now from home and must also teach their kids, many parents are not prepared for this and it has caused a lot of stress.
In the meantime we keep busy. My brother who lives in Florida and is now retired, is making masks and he sent us some.
We are also trying new recipes and old ones, like this typically Italian dessert of pears in red wine.
Will also makes dough for our pizza dinner and we keep the ingredients to 3 topping maximum.
Here we have as toppings mushrooms which have been sautéed prior to baking the pizza, a tomato sauce and prosciutto which is added last just before serving. This pizza is very light to eat and the dough is really good.
Life goes one and let’s make the best of it.