Putting the “social” in “social distancing”

By Gordon Lambie

In at least one corner of Sherbrooke, a small group of neighbours isn’t letting the phenomenon known to many as “social distancing” get in the way of their desire to spend time with one another. On Saturday afternoon the residents of John-Griffith Road in the city’s Des Nations Borough all gathered on their front porches to share a glass of wine, together but apart.
“Premier Legault said that now is not the time to have parties, and we didn’t; we kept our distance,” said Jocelyne Poupart, who coordinated the gathering. Although Poupart admitted that the neighbours did come down off their porches into the street over the course of the hour-long get together, she said they were all careful to keep a distance of at least two metres between different households. “Everyone very respectful,” Poupart shared. The organizer explained that this was not an isolated get-together on the small cul-de-sac, although she did say it was the first time that anything has been tried since the crackdown on COVID-19. “We’re like a little family,” Poupart said, pointing out that the street has an annual block party but that the neighbours are also in the habit of looking out for one another.
“Recently I was speaking with one of my neighbours who is all alone and I thought, my God, this is rough for her,” she said, explaining that she quickly got to work on a plan to break down the isolation of so-called “social distancing.” “We’ll call it physical distancing and not social,” Poupart said, noting that even at a distance from one another, the face-to face contact felt more real than chatting over the internet. “Everyone was there, it was great,” she said. “We’ll probably do it again next week if there aren’t more severe measures in place.” Published in the Monday, March 30 edition of The Record.

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