Focus On

Locking down locking up | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, November 27, 2020 @ 3:04 PM | By Marcel Strigberger


Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
Lockdown bah! Or is it bah? That is the question. How do we best deal with containing COVID-19?

In Ontario we are living in an array of colour-coded risk zones, the different colours outdoing the coat Jacob gave his son Joseph. Each zone has its own designation and the red or grey, with Toronto and Peel regions leading the way, have the greatest activity restrictions, allowing indoor business only for places providing essential services. One problem is confusion as to what essential means.

For guidance I went to the epicentre of wisdom, Google. I clicked on some dictionary.com site and it gave one very bang-on example of using “essential” in a sentence, as follows:

“The English micrometer still retains the essential features of Troughton’s original construction above described.”

I have no clue who Troughton is. But I get the feeling if he were to open a shop at the Eaton’s Centre selling English micrometers, the government would say, “No problem. Do you have a Black Friday special?”

We noticed this week that the flagship The Bay in downtown Toronto remained open on Monday, suggesting its products were essential as it had a food store in the basement of the multistory department store. This make sense to me, subject to all customers being directed there accordingly. So if someone popped by on the fourth floor wanting to buy a chesterfield, in my view there would have been no violation of the lockdown had the salesperson said to the customer, ”Our chesterfields are phenomenal, but you really have to go down to the basement and pick up some zucchini.” No problem there.

There is questionable unfairness in the lockdown policy that the big box stores such as Costco or Walmart may remain open for all business.

I suppose the government considers as essential customers being met by a greeter.

And speaking of humbug, what are we doing for Christmas? What is happening with the perennial Santa Claus in the malls? How can any parent tell their kids Santa Claus is not essential?  We have seen some acts of defiance to lockdowns. If a Santa does set up photo shoots at some mall, I’d like to see what happens when the police arrive.

OFFICER: Sir, is your name Santa Claus?

SANTA: Yes officer. You cannot sit on my lap. Please follow my elf to that chair two metres over. And you can put those handcuffs away. Just tell me what you want for Christmas.

I don’t think the cop will respond by asking for an English micrometer.

And should we also revisit the legal system and see what is essential? We must think outside the box. (And in my opinion, outside the box store!) I believe courts for the most part might take a break for a while. For civil matters, if two people have a dispute, maybe we can reinstate dueling. If they cannot resolve their quarrel, then let them meet on a cold winter dawn to settle it. At least when facing one another they’ll be about 20 paces away; all within the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

As for weapons, I am suggesting something safe, like hockey sticks. Why not follow the NHL method of resolving a deadlock, by having a shootout? Their respective seconds bring along the nets. Five shots each.

As for criminal matters, maybe we can send out a message to all potential felons asking them to lay low and take a 28-day moratorium on all activity. Or rather all but essential activity. I’m sure they could work with those guidelines. After all isn’t there honour amongst thieves? And given the overall indoor restrictions, in any event the potential for theft has all but disappeared for shoplifting.

Nobody knows where all of this is going. However, one way or the other, let’s be optimistic that the next few weeks are more colourful than bah!

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. Visit www.marcelshumour.com. Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

Interested in writing for us? To learn more about how you can add your voice to The Lawyer’s Daily, contact Analysis Editor Peter Carter at peter.carter@lexisnexis.ca or call 647-776-6740.