Two Prince Edward Islanders now living in Montreal are counting on the city they have come to love to get through the latest public health restrictions forced by COVID-19.
New restrictions in Greater Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches came into effect Thursday and are set for four weeks. Restaurants are closed and gatherings in homes are banned, with a few exceptions, such as a necessary caregiver.
Thomas Ledwell — who lives with his wife and two children, aged four and six — is thankful that schools are remaining open.
"We were watching the premier with fingers crossed that schools would remain open for now. We'll see how long that lasts," said Ledwell.
"My wife and I have the luxury of being able to work from home, but when you have a couple of kids on top of that it poses a great challenge."
Russell Louder is a musician and for them the reintroduction of restrictions has an impact on their professional future.
"It's a general feeling of uncertainty for my career," said Louder.
"It has put a huge dent in my former income, which is usually from gigs and shows. There has been some opportunities to play live stream stuff but it's just not the same. And the payment isn't the same."
Ledwell said his life will not change much with the new restrictions. He and his wife have not been going out or socializing much since March, but there is a psychological impact.
"Morale has certainly taken a bit of a hit. As you watch the numbers continue to climb there's less and less reason to be optimistic," he said.
"Knowing that we're in this for the long haul is increasingly challenging."
He missed his annual pilgrimage to P.E.I. this year. Now that he has young children the visit seems that much more important. He wants them to know the P.E.I. family, and for the P.E.I. family to know them.
"It's now been two years since we've been to the Island to see everyone and it will be at least another year," Ledwell said, adding he agrees that the travel restrictions are necessary.
His wife's family is in Quebec City and under the red alert that is also off limits.
But he said the strength of his neighbourhood, and of the city itself, is helping his family get through.
"The city does have a great spirit. It has a great soul and it's filled with many wonderful people. Truthfully, if you take out the music and the restaurants and being out and about in the city it certainly changes things but the spirit of the city remains true," said Ledwell.
There are feelings of grief and isolation, said Louder, but he agrees that somehow Montreal is rising above it.
"The city still kind of has its vibrancy," Louder said.
"I mean, Montreal is Montreal."
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