HEALEY: NSians are better than plate-shaming stories

The number of stories about people being plate shamed for being outside the Atlantic Bubble and driving throughout N.S., N.B., PEI or NL have been outstanding.

Specifically in N.S., I know of five families who either are from here and have a rental or their car was here and they arrived and have quarantined, but are still getting people yelling, staring them down, or even taking their photo and posting it on social media warning others.

A recent post of an outside the Atlantic Bubble photo was posted on a Facebook page. A family member of that person—which I believe was a vehicle from North Carolina–saw and commented as the nasty and judgmental comments built up to explain that was their family members car, and they had been here before the lockdown. There were lots of likes.

Unfortunately, the damage had been done because I didn’t see any apologies from those who had jumped to conclusions beforehand.

Growing up—and still to this day—I feel we’re a friendly province. We’re a helping, generous bunch of Bluenosers.

However, since COVID19 lockdown there’s just something that seems to have changed us. It’s changed us to the point where we’re judging those who we don’t know based on their license plates. Rental car shops have a lot of Quebec, Ontario, U.S. states plates.

It’s not the fault of the person driving if they have one that has one of those plates. However, it just makes them a target for anyone looking for those who are breaking the bubble—or so they think.

I wonder how those who are accusing people based on their plates of being in the wrong would feel if the roles were reversed and they were getting the yells; nasty looks; and plates/car pics posted and shared widely without question on social media. Probably not good.

So, before you take that next photo of a non-Atlantic Bubble license plated car pause and give yourself some time to think. “Do I know for sure this person is from outside the Atlantic Bubble?” “Has this person arrived and followed the public health guidelines to self-isolate or self-quarantine?”

If you don’t know the answer to either question, then put your camera away, and just go on about your business.

  • Pat Healey