By Sandra Dunham

I hate the term “social distancing”. We’re not really being asked to distance ourselves socially from the people who matter most to us. In fact, I don’t recall a time when it was more important that we be socially connected. What is really being asked of us is that we physically distance ourselves. We all should be actively pursuing alternatives to our traditional ways of being together.

At CFIC we understand the need for community and want to engage our membership in suggesting ways they have discovered to be together, while maintaining at least two metres of physical separation. We are looking for your advice about how to connect. Please follow the links below and tell us how you are connecting with others.

Many of CFIC’s branches are offering their regular programming virtually, and CFIC’s Virtual Branch will be offering increased programming during this difficult time. We hope you will join us and offer suggestions for programming that provides improved social connectedness while we physically distance ourselves.

Many of us get together to play games with our friends and families. Now is the time to be bold and try to recreate those activities online. I play bridge with a group of friends. We have all joined an online bridge app and we teleconference while we play. The snacks are not as good, but it is wonderful to connect and play. Do you have online games you play remotely? Please share them here , along with a review.

Conference calling on cell phones is incredibly easy. Simply merge calls and have a great group chat. While this is the easiest way of connecting a small group of people, there are many free services available if you are looking for larger groups or different ways of interacting.

Video conferencing is another option for people who love eye contact while chatting. Although many of these tools are available for remote work, they are also a great alternative for friends and family who want to connect. Do you have other video conferencing tools to share ?

Going outside can be a safe activity. Take a walk or go on a bike ride with a friend. But please remember that the two metres of separation applies. Recently, many parks and conservation areas have closed because of overcrowding and people flouting the rules. If you are walking, riding, or just visiting with neighbours be very aware of the two-metre rule. To visualize two metres, remember that sidewalks are typically just 1.2 metres wide.

The rules of social distancing are currently fluid. Please follow the guidelines provided by your municipality and province. We welcome you to share ideas about how to stay connected to help others. Please join the conversation.

This article appears in the April 2020 version of Critical Links.