It seems to be a bit unnecessary to say that 2020 has been a year like no other.

Everybody knows that Covid-19 has upended all aspects of life, both private life and community life.

When it comes to community life, the number of events that have been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions continues to grow.

We were struck by how many postponements have been announced recently in Hay River.

Just to name a few, the cancellations for the year include A Taste of Soup fundraiser by the Soup Kitchen, the Dragons’ Den Challenge for school children by the Rotary Club of Hay River Sunrise and Spook-A-Rama, a Halloween dance for young people which had been presented for 35 years straight by the RCMP until this year.

And there are also one-time special events that have been affected, like the planned digging up of a time capsule at Harry Camsell School. It was buried on Oct. 12, 2000, and it was to be uncovered on Oct. 12, 2020, until Covid-19 got in the way. It has now become a 21-year time capsule, assuming the pandemic has receded by this time next year.

Of course, other events have been impacted throughout the year.

For Hay River, the biggest was the cancellation for this year of the NWT Track and Field Championships.

Hay River athletes were also among those disappointed when the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse did not go ahead because of Covid-19.

One cancellation is bad enough, but the number of cancellations and postponements just continues to grow.

As we move into the fall and winter, it is not difficult to predict that many other events will fall victim to Covid-19 restrictions for the rest of 2020, and most likely into 2021.

There have been some events that have managed to go ahead despite the pandemic, but that has not happened without extraordinary measures.

The graduation at Diamond Jenness Secondary School was one of those events, but it was unrecognizable from previous graduations. It took place in the parking lot of the school, there was a strict limit on the number of people allowed, and family members and friends were confined to their vehicles, except when they were allowed out to congratulate the grads.

Sporting events have begun to adjust to the pandemic and the Hay River Community Centre is also gradually reopening with restrictions.

All those successes – with adjustments – should be celebrated for having the resilience to carry on in the face of Covid-19.

However, there are other things that have not been able to make the adjustments, or perhaps organizers have decided to err on the side of caution and skip 2020 altogether.

Events and activities are postponed and cancelled all the time for various reasons, but it is highly unusual to see so many of them cancelled in one year.

Everyone understands why that is happening, but it doesn’t make it any easier for the organizations involved or the people who enjoy the events.

Living with the worry and stress of a pandemic is bad enough, the cancellation of annual events makes 2020 even worse.


Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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