Opinion: Face shields a small but important step

By Mike Williscraft

It’s been a very tough go for many during this COVID-19 mess.

Personal tragedies, mental anguish and a cryogenic business community only scratch the surface of ongoing conditions our community has experienced – as well as the world.

A handful of “good news” stories has sprouted but it seems it is difficult for them to take route with the mudslide of negativity which surrounds so much of what we see and hear.

So, for me, it was a downright treat to get out of the office last week and get some deliveries done with these new face shields which the Town of Grimsby and Grimsby Downtown Improvement Area (DIA) board acquired for businesses in town.

Much of the background was covered in our front page story this week, so I will focus on the reaction and comments from some of the business folk we got to see while making deliveries.

First, an appreciative shout out to Drew Gall and his team at Wood Workers Unite, who worked with us seamlessly to get this project off the ground from idea to delivered in less than a week.

Second, Tony Hall, thanks for doing such a great job on that video of our rounds on Thursday. It certainly captured the positive atmosphere of the day.

Needless to say, the face shields were a huge hit.

While some business operators said they were not sure where to source that kind of thing, others said they had already purchased much more expensive versions but vastly preferred the ones we dropped off.

The main reasons for that are design related. We heard about how easy they are to put on and that they are easily adjustable both for angle of the shield and the distance away from the face the shield can get.

More importantly, it was simply the recognition of support which all business people felt.

As someone who fits the bill of a downtown business operator myself, I can assure you all business folk feel like they have been cast on an island, no mode of transportation to get back to civilization and, for that matter, no other land in sight as a possible safe harbour from the effects of COVID-19.

Several people noted, as I feel, that the shield is more friendly than cloth masks which cover one’s face. Now, some may need or want masks for their particular business and that’s great. Everything about this situation is “whatever works for you”…you being the business’s employees and customers.

For me, though, the absolute #1 thing about the face shields is they are an instant, subliminal marker that our businesses are taking the situation seriously and we have the best interests of our customers in mind as we re-open our doors and our downtown once again.

It is of paramount importance to both workers and customers to feel comfortable, that preventative measures are in place and the seriousness of the situation is top of mind.

Because of the sacrifices everyone has made – and it has been extreme for some – we all are generally in pretty good shape to get this rig rolling again and starting that process won’t come a day too soon. That said, nobody believes it will be just like turning a tap back on. It will be slow and, hopefully, progressive, but I am glad to see things starting to open up again this week.

And, as Grimsby’s car dealers so aptly put it in their ad this week, Shop Locally. As I have stated in the past, I am clearly biased, but our local merchants need every bit of support the community can muster if they are to keep their lights on.

* * * * * * *

Alvin Danyluck passed away last week.

I knew Alvin for more than 20 years through one of the passions of his life, the Beamsville Lions Club. He was also a former councillor at Town of Lincoln.

Having seen Alvin in action at countless events over the years – and not just Lions events as he would help anyone who needed it – it was clear he had an intense civic pride.

People with that kind of drive and passion for making their community a better place are not common these days and their numbers were just reduced by one. He was an old-style country gentleman. RIP, my friend.

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