Monday, July 15, 2024
Guest ContributionsOn the Road with Mike MurchisonOpinion/Column

Hygiene standards get flushed as COVID fears subside

Now that fears about the spread of COVID-19 are subsiding, Mike Murchison notices hygiene standards, particularly in washrooms, are being lowered as well. Photo: RWN


Covid come tearing out of China like a cabinet minister out of question period. It consumed all forms of media. Disrupted the entire world economy and the lives of virtually every person on earth.

The phrase ‘social distancing ‘ becomes the cry of the day for nearly three years.

Masks, lockdowns….and hand sanitizers. Businesses are forced to put ‘stringent’ cleaning protocols into practice.

It was nice during the three-year period to walk into a restaurant, truck stop and even a washroom and smell that ‘just cleaned’ scent, which seemed to be present everywhere I went.

It had gotten to the point where you couldn’t fill your own thermos with coffee or use your own travel mug. Nope. That was a No-No.

The store attendant had to hand you a cup, and a little plastic bag that contained the lid and the stir stick. All the while doing this while wearing latex gloves…

On one occasion the attendant couldn’t give me a lid or stir stick because the store had “run out” of plastic bags to hygienically seal them in….I’ll wait while you ponder that for a spell.

Leap ahead to today.

Oh, what a difference a protest, a convoy, a polite well-mannered uprising (‘cos that’s how Canadians do it) can make.

Gone are the plastic bags with the lids, the latex gloves, the masks. Oh, the masks! And gone, in many cases, are the “stringent cleaning” protocols.

Nope, no need to clean the bathrooms with the cry of “Saving humanity!” accompanying every swing of the mop handle.

No need to double check the hand sanitizer container to see if there is anything in it. No need to wipe down the pool of bacteria that sits splashed over the bathroom sinks. Sadly, in some cases…no need to flush the toilet, or at least make an attempt to aim at your target.

We’ve got it covered now. Pfizer and Moderna have saved us all from having to continually practice good hygiene habits.

It was all a big world-wide conspiracy to sell hand sanitizer and masks…right!

If anything, you would think that learning and “habitually” practicing good hygiene would sink deep into the subconscious of the majority of people. But then again, maybe not so much if it is a “mandatory” or “forced” behavior; kind of like being forced to write with the opposite hand. You know as soon as no one is watching, you’re likely to revert back to your “comfortable” hand to write.

I will say this: There are businesses who have kept up with keeping their facilities clean. I applaud them. There are those that have “slacked off” as well.

The sad reality comes in the form of those individuals who have decided that now that the big Covid monster isn’t so menacing they can revert back to the “I don’t care how I left it” mentality.

They live in their own worlds, where cleaning up after themselves and leaving things a little better than the way they found them doesn’t exist or matter. It is those people who make it hard for others who just want to see clean facilities regardless where they go.

You get the hell scared out of you for nearly three years you would think it might leave an impression. I’ve seen people wearing masks today get looked over twice and have heard comments to the negative.  It’s their choice: in their eyes, it’s keeping them safe.

“Gratitude” Photo by Mike Murchison

Just remember: you, as a member of society that depends on each other to make things work and run smoothly, do in fact need to step up to the plate…. or the bowl and aim for a much higher standard.

And on that note, I wash my hands of the matter.