All week, I had planned to cover the Rankin Inlet Fire Department’s Easter egg hunt the morning of Saturday, April 16.
But the day before the event brought a resumption of cold temperatures, and double-checking Facebook for any postponement update, I wondered that Saturday morning, who would actually be waking up before noon and going outside to this, as fun as it may seem? Especially the day after a holiday, when I figured people would rather be sleeping in.
Turns out, almost everybody was eager to take part. There must have been more than 250 people on the ice when I arrived. One resident I talked to explained it well, saying something along the lines of ‘Yeah, it’s freezing, but we’ve been waiting for these community events.’
The Government of Nunavut finally ended the public health emergency on April 11. I was surprised to attend council that afternoon and find everyone still wearing a mask. I wondered if I had missed a hamlet rule and was going to get chastised for being so naked.
But people can take whatever approach they feel comfortable with in the post-emergency pandemic world, and there’s no shame in continuing to mask up. Some may go slower toward embracing the old normal, and many think masking is simply a good idea to cut down on the spread of all sorts of junk coming out of our mouths.
Talking about Pakallak Tyme, council almost thought about bringing in restrictions again and requiring masks at larger indoor events, but thankfully it was a fleeting notion.
Coun. Megan Pizzo-Lyall put it succinctly that creating new rules on the day the old rules ended might not go over well with the public, and Coun. Michael Shouldice noted that square dancing in masks sounded rather miserable.
That said, it’s not foolish to continue being mindful of the virus. The whole pandemic has been a story of dashed hopes and extended timelines, as “two weeks to stop the spread” turned into two years. It may well surge again or take on a different form. It’s hard to know if you’re at the end of the hurricane or just in its eye.
For now, we have this window of normality with a traditional Pakallak Tyme coming up, complete with full-capacity events and invites to out-of-towners.
Obviously, people want their old lives back, and I look forward to seeing Rankin Inlet celebrating the way it’s supposed to.