Vancouverites stage noisy show of appreciation for health-care workers

The streets may be quieter than usual but residents isolating in Vancouver's Yaletown and West End apartments are getting loud nightly in a public display of appreciation for health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the past few nights, people have taken to their balconies and windows to applaud, cheer and bang pots and pans at 7 p.m., a time chosen to coincide with the shift change at nearby St. Paul's Hospital.

The idea is borrowed from Italy, where balcony salutes to health-care workers began almost two weeks ago.

The nightly ritual has also been picked up by those self isolating in India, Spain, Israel, California and elsewhere.

On Facebook, St. Paul's worker Carmen Hanson wrote how emotional it was for her and all her co-workers to hear the cheering through the hospital windows.

"After a very challenging day at the hospital, it was very honouring to hear the claps, yells, and cheers for being recognized as a health-care worker. It felt as if all our hard work today was recognized," she said.

"I'm not sure who to thank. But I hope this gets to at least one of the West End and Yaletown residents ... and whomever else participated in this wonderful salute!"