news evolving on the half hour
A note from the Editor:
The world can certainly change in one week. Putting Issue 558 together has been a challenge as I want to both help inform our community as well as maintain our positive approach to news as has been our mandate for the last decade. Articles have literally been evolving on the half hour and may very well be out-of-date by the time they are published this morning (March 18) and for that I sincerely apologize. I have been in touch with residents of Bayfield and area, who have been travelling, or are currently in other countries for them to share their stories with us here. A couple appear this week and I hope you find them enlightening.
With most everything closed and no events occurring it may be a challenge to fill the Bayfield Breeze in the coming weeks, however, we have always been the voice of the village, so anyone who would like to share their stories and photos of how they are passing the time – photos of family board game night, teaching the youngsters how to make pasta from scratch etc. would be welcomed. Also, stories of how we are helping and looking out for each other during this crisis would be appreciated.
No one should be taking this situation lightly, it is only together we can slow the curve for the benefit of our health care providers and our community. Take care – Melody
A letter from lockdown in Soller, Mallorca, Spain
The central square in Soller, Mallorca, Spain as it looked just prior to the lockdown coming into effect on March 15. (Photos by Gary Lloyd-Rees)
Bayfield residents Gary and Kate Lloyd-Rees are currently in Spain, under a government decreed COVID-19 lockdown, from where they sent this update on March 16.
So here we are in a 15-day lockdown that came into effect across mainland Spain and the Canary & Balearic Islands on March 15th.
We have vacationed in the small town of Soller in Mallorca – an island in the Mediterranean about the size of Huron County - for the past 9 years. Over the last 4 years, we have stayed for increasingly longer periods during the winter months until it now feels like our second home. Not unlike Bayfield, Soller has a certain unique feel to it – surrounded on three sides by the UNESCO World Heritage Tramuntana mountains rising to almost 5,000 feet, the fourth side leads down via a 100-year old tram to a picturesque port with a classic palm tree lined horseshoe shaped bay and sandy beaches. Like Bayfield, the population explodes in the Summer months, but it always keeps its beauty and grace.
When we arrived in Soller, COVID-19 (the Coronavirus virus) was a distant thing - on Jan. 31st there were only 106 confirmed cases outside of China including three in Canada, two in Italy and none in Spain. A month later the talk of it in town was more to do with Italian cruise passengers visiting Palma (Mallorca’s cruise port) - on Feb. 29th there were 888 confirmed cases in Italy, 32 in Spain, and 14 in Canada.
The month of March has been markedly different. The declaration of a pandemic, the cruising industry halted, border restrictions implemented, flights cancelled and an exponential increase in the levels of public awareness and concern. So, what did that mean in Soller?
Solleric’s lives started to be impacted. Residents with their own foreign travel plans had to cancel, all the facemasks in the town were sold over a weekend (although we’ve only seen one person wearing one), and there was the usual panic buying of toilet paper (why?) in the large island supermarkets. On Thursday last week, the same day as Canada, school closures were announced.
And then lockdown… On the evening of March 14th, the Prime Minister of Spain announced a “State of Alert” for the whole of Spain commencing the following morning:
“All restaurants and bars, and all premises and establishments that carry out public facing activity other than those distributing foodstuffs or essential items are to be closed:
Freedom of movement is to be restricted, the order having established eight justifications for leaving home:
1. The purchase of food, pharmaceuticals and basic necessities.
2. Attendance at health centres.
3. Travel to places of work.
4. Return to places of habitual residence.
5. Assistance and care for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or especially vulnerable people.
6. To go to financial entities (e.g. banks).
7. Due to force majeure or situations of necessity.
8. Any other activity of a justified analogous (comparable) nature.
Expressly prohibited is any outing for a "leisure" purpose.”
On the evening of March 14th, the Prime Minister of Spain announced a “State of Alert” for the whole of Spain commencing the following morning.
In practice, the rules of the lockdown are still being clarified - for example, only one person can go out of their house for a permitted reason at any one time (a real problem for single parents with children off school), you cannot walk your dog other than a quick “out and in” to do their business, you have to stay at least 1 metre away from other persons outside the home at all times (so shops are limiting the number of customers inside at any one time) - and the rules are being enforced under threat of large fines or imprisonment.
Following the lockdown announcement, extra measures are being introduced daily – all private healthcare providers are being taken over by the Government, and all public and private areas are to be available for conversion to healthcare facilities if required.
What comes next in the short-term is uncertain – an extension to the lockdown period, a full curfew, mandatory isolation for the elderly (as is being mooted in the UK), military on the streets, or even deportation of foreigners (as put forward by the President of the Balearic Islands)? In the longer-term the impact on the local and national economy, particularly the tourist sector, and on individuals own financial security can only be guessed at. In the meantime, we feel well and safe ‘- we have good accommodation, sufficient supplies, access to fresh produce, and a local support structure together with the best wishes of all our friends back home.
Our journey back to Bayfield is not scheduled until after the end of the current Spanish lockdown period; however, travel logistics are somewhat dynamic for the foreseeable future based upon flights being operated and the UK (where we transit) and Canada’s entry policies. We are making contingency plans for an extended stay here. We know that when we do eventually arrive home, at the very least, a minimum of 14 days self-isolation awaits – we should be fairly well practised by then.
An Update from Soller (morning of March 17):
Following the announcement yesterday that all Canadians abroad should immediately return home, we began the search for available flights.
We are staying in the North West of the island of Mallorca, in the town of Soller - a natural valley surrounded by mountains on three sides and the sea on the other. The whole of Spain is on lockdown, with only food stores and pharmacies open and only one person allowed to leave their homes at any one time. As far as we are aware there have been no recorded cases of the virus in the town. We can buy the freshest fruit and veg - all grown locally - as well as locally sourced meats and dairy products. There are no shortages. We have good local connections and we know there are people we could count on if we had a problem - and in turn we hope they know they can count on us.
For us to return home now would mean travelling either by Madrid or London - and there is always the possibility that we would get stranded in one of those. The risk of us catching the virus by trying to get home is far higher than if we stayed here - so that is the decision we have made, both for our own safety and also for the safety of friends and family back home.
We hope everyone understands our decision ... stay well everyone.
A Further Update from Soller (afternoon of March 17):
Things move pretty quickly - the President of the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) has just announced restrictions that basically mean that Balearic air and maritime space is now closed with a few exceptions for medical treatment, essential service work, the departure of foreign tourists and the return of Mallorcans who are overseas. The ban also includes private charters and air taxis. All flights can only be 1/3 full... The really interesting thing is that the arrival ban/repatriation includes Spanish persons from mainland Spain - it is basically putting the Islands into quarantine - akin to Newfoundland banning entry to fellow Canadians and repatriating those who are there.
A letter from home isolation
Gary Alcock, and his wife, Hattie, arrived back in Bayfield early on Monday, March 16, when their cruise holiday ended on Saturday, March 15, in Los Angeles, CA.
“We were fortunate to get back,” said Gary.
They are now in self-isolation at home. They are checking their temperatures twice daily and washing their hands thoroughly many times during the day. Alcock noted that they feel very fortunate to be back and that self-isolation is a “necessity for absolute caution” especially after their return travel experience.
“…after the potential exposure to Coronavirus standing in the lineups with literally hundreds of other passengers from many different countries getting off the ship, staying at a hotel in Los Angeles in an area where cases had been reported, flying from LA to Toronto Pearson and standing in the lineup with other passengers from different countries taking over two hours to get through,” concluded Alcock.
we have always been here sweeps Bayfield Reads
This year’s Bayfield Reads contestants took sanctuary in The Village Bookshop to defend their books via live-streaming to the public. From l-r were: Don Keillor; Greg Stewart; Kathy Wilson, Margot Robeson, and Jayne Dietrich
After a lengthy deliberation, the winner of Bayfield Reads 2020 was determined to be “We Have Always Been Here” by Samra Habib, defended by Kathy Wilson, who also took home the People’s Choice Award! (Photos by Jocelyn Pierce)
On March 15, the new owners of The Village Bookshop hosted Bayfield Reads at the store on Main Street instead of at the Bayfield Town Hall in a self-imposed, self-isolation.
“The tradition of holding the annual Bayfield Reads event continued even though we couldn’t all gather in person,” said Nonie Brennan, on behalf of the store owners. “Thank you to everyone who tuned into our livestream. Our judges and defenders really appreciated the community’s support - and all the digital votes for the People’s Choice Award!”
This year’s Bayfield Reads contestants were: “Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club” by Megan Gail Coles, defended by Margot Robeson (filling in for Ruth Gibson); “Son of a Trickster” by Eden Robinson, defended by Jayne Dietrich; “We Have Always Been Here” by Samra Habib, defended by Kathy Wilson; “Radicalized by Cory Doctorow”, defended by Greg Stewart; and “From the Ashes” by Jesse Thistle, defended by Don Keillor.
After a lengthy deliberation, the winner of Bayfield Reads 2020 was determined to be “We Have Always Been Here” by Samra Habib, defended by Kathy Wilson, who also took home the People’s Choice Award! All of the defenders did a fantastic job defending their excellent books, and both the winner and the People’s Choice Award were close races.
The Village Bookshop re-opens on Thursday, March 19 at 11 a.m.
“For those of you who are self-isolating, we will be offering free same-day delivery for phone or online orders within Huron County,” said Brennan.
In concert with their municipal partners, all Bluewater Community Centres were closed as of midnight Friday, March 13, in order to promote a coordinated response to the developing situation regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19.
The Municipality of Bluewater will continue to monitor and follow the advice of public health authorities to reassess this decision and, if appropriate, will reopen the facilities on Monday, Apr. 6.
All facility renters are being notified.
They ask for the public’s understanding and patience as they work to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus and safeguard the safety of residents.
A message from Bayfield Ward Councilor Bill Whetstone:
"Based on just having February’s meeting last week (due to cancellations, events, etc) and as Bluewater, as well as many other Municipalities have closed their recreation and community centres until April 6 in order to help contain the Covid-19 virus, I am therefore cancelling the March session.
"Should you have any questions / concerns that can’t wait until the April session feel free to give me a call or send me an email. Let’s stay safe and look out for one another."
The Bayfield Historical Society, out of concern for public health and wellbeing connected to the Covid-19, will be cancelling their March 30th public speakers meeting at the Bayfield Lions' Community Building in Bayfield. Their featured speaker Dave Pullen will be rescheduled in the future.
secretary and treasurer needed
The Board of the Bayfield Historical Society (BHS) requires two positions to be filled, those of Secretary and Treasurer. The Board of Directors consists of volunteers from the community who are interested in promoting and preserving the heritage of the village and area.
The Secretary is responsible for recording the minutes for the Board Meetings, the General (aka Speakers) Meetings and any special meetings that may be necessary. Board Meetings are held once a month, and General Meetings are also held once a month except for July, August and December. The Secretary also prepares a summary report of the General meetings for the annual newsletter distributed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The Treasurer is responsible for the safe keeping of the funds of the BHS and to maintain adequate financial records. The Treasurer also prepares the accounts for audit and renders an annual report based on the calendar year; which will be given at the AGM.
Anyone interested in either of these positions is asked to please contact President Ruth Gibson at 905 518 4646, or any of the Directors.
Due to the heightened concerns surrounding the Corona virus/Covid-19, the Bayfield Lions have shut down the Community Building on Municipal Road until further notice. This move is in the interest of safety for the public as well as the members. Any groups needing to cancel their bookings can contact us for more information.
The Bayfield Lions would also like to thank returning travellers who are self-isolating. This type of public-minded behaviour helps to keep everyone safe.
Friends of the Bayfield Library
The Huron County Library (HCL) has cancelled all programs, events, activities, and group visits at all of its branch locations in response to the Health Canada recommendations regarding the COVID-19 situation. In keeping with HCL’s response, Friends of Bayfield Library has cancelled the March 28th “Saturdays at the Library” speaker program. They hope to re-book the speaker at another time.
The Coffee Club that meets on Wednesdays at the Bayfield Public Library will be suspended until Wednesday, Apr. 8th.
Friends of Bayfield Library will continue to monitor this situation and make changes as needed.
soup and a movie
Trinity St. James Anglican Church is sorry to announce that the decision has been made to cancel the remaining Soup and a Movie events. Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered, donated soup and attended the first two. Proactive measures such as these will hopefully ensure the continued good health of our community.
The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) hikes scheduled for March 21 and Apr. 3rd are cancelled due to the COVID-19 health recommendations against group activities.
The BRVTA are still hoping to hold the Apr. 22 Litter Walk in the Village of Bayfield, and will announce that decision in the Apr. 15 edition of Bayfield Breeze. Hiking is a great activity in these times of social distancing, so the BRVTA still encourage people to enjoy their trails on their own.
Visit www.bayfieldtrails.com for maps and info.
gift cards for kintail on the road
Knox Presbyterian Church, Bayfield Fundraiser with Huron Ridge Greenhouses is now underway.
“This is our once a year event in support of the ‘Camp Kintail on the Road’ program run every summer at our Church,” said Grasby. “In 2019 the once weekly day camp was attended by over 100 children who enjoyed the leadership of counsellors from Camp Kintail.”
As of 2020 the Huron Ridge Spring Fundraising Program is exclusively for Gift Cards with no expiry date which can be redeemed at the Greenhouse for plants or any product they sell.
Denominations are now available in $10, $25, $50 or $100 values. All but the $10 cards can be used in partial amounts. This new declining balance means people can spread the value over multiple purchases and dates. The $10 cards have been popular to be given as hostess and thank you gifts.
“We think the new format will appeal to all of us who enjoy browsing and picking out our plants and flowers while having helpful staff on hand to answer questions and offer suggestions. Win-Win!” said Grasby.
Please call Deb Grasby at 519 524-0224 or any member of the Knox Congregation to order cards.
Many in the village will know doubt be saddened to learn of the recent deaths of two men who thought Bayfield a special place - one a long-time resident and another a long-time village cottager.
Harold Richard Coombs, 94, of Bayfield, ON died peacefully on Friday, March 13.
Harold is survived by his loving wife Elsie of 64 years, children Richard and Pamela (Chris) Bowers, grandchildren Sarah (Devon), Adam, Nicole (Garmamie) and Robyn (Jesse) and five loving great grandchildren.
Harold immigrated from Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland to Canada in 1947 at the age of 21. He worked on tugboats in New Brunswick before settling in Ontario where he worked on countless construction sites.
In his retirement, he moved to the small village of Bayfield on Lake Huron. He enjoyed many euchre games and volunteering with the Bayfield Lion’s Club and Trinity Anglican Church.
Harold enjoyed more trips to his birthplace than all others combined. He was a true Newfoundlander and will make one more trip home to his final resting place.
Donations in his memory can be made to Huronview Home for the Aged in Clinton.
Herbert (Herb) Levi Kirkham (1928-2020) died at University Hospital in London, ON, on March 15. Beloved husband of Elizabeth (Betty) for 67 years. Dear brother to Sherman. Predeceased by his parents Eber and Mabel Kirkham, two sisters Evaline (Lloyd Baird) and Ruth Rossi (Tom) and brother-in-law to George and Phyllis Heard and Gordon and Juen Heard. He was adored by his God children and a special Uncle to nieces and nephews.
Herb retired from the London Transit Commission in 1989. He had a great retirement enjoying the cottage, boating and travelling with friends and family. Herb loved to chat and relate many of the conversations to a joke resulting in a chuckle or smile to make your day. A private funeral service will be held at Harris Funeral Home, London followed by the burial at Bayfield Cemetery.