No Amount of Social Distancing

No amount of social distancing can compensate for the lack of preparedness, inadequate planning and lack of foresight in these public health policies aimed at countering the Corona pandemic. It is painfully clear that these public health policies have failed to protect the most vulnerable in our society- the elderly, the marginalized, the essential workers.

The virus preyed on these groups but it was the policies that led to it. These outbreaks that happened in senior homes and in the meat processing plants, these incidents did not happen overnight. The conditions on how these senior homes were managed, that’s been existing for years. Why is it that senior homes do not have any minimum ratio of personal care workers? Day cares have minimum staff to children ratio.

The signs were there and inaction or apathy has brought about the terrible truth. The virus did not pick on these sectors, it’s these policies that discriminated against them. Why is it that the meat processing plant in Cargill, Alberta was allowed to operate even when the virus was spreading at its peak? Is a worker’s health worth a burger?

I question this blanket lock down approach that we were asked to do, how effective is that really. For one thing, there is not enough testing conducted. How can you control the spread of the disease when there is no data to show how much it has spread? Who is to say that a selective lock down would have not worked ? You cannot simply dismiss people as rabble-rousers if they do not follow or believe in the lock down. There is no data, specially for the asymptomatic. It would be a bitter pill to say the lock down was not effective considering all the losses that has happened. All we have is a built up fear of the unknown.

So, what do we do now? The same officials that have scared us and drummed up all this fear to stay at home, is now asking us, to slowly go back to work. Incorporating social distancing measures in our workplaces, in the schools is not enough to fight this virus. All of that reopening should be partnered with robust testing. The businesses, workplaces, schools should undergo some testing. If there is not enough tests- then priority for testing should be categorized based on the nature of the activity/ engagement and the volume of people.

As an architect, I would based this criteria on its occupancy – which is the nature of activities done on a certain area/ space. If the business is an assembly type of occupancy, large volume of people and different people in attendance, the minimum is the staff of these businesses should go for regular testing. Other places in this category are restaurants, churches, places of worship. Care occupancy- like senior homes, hospitals, everyone should get regular testing. Other places with mercantile occupancy should have access to testing as well – these are shops, stores, supermarkets. Medium to high hazard occupancy- production plants where there is also a volume of people and working in constricted spaces should have access to proper testing as well.

The stark reality is that the economy is down the drain, we have an economy that’s not simply going to recover. Now we have bigger issues to deal with – issues of rising poverty, high rates of unemployment, mental health issues and a huge debt in the economy. And mind you, the vaccine is not a miracle vaccine, it is not going to make that all go away.

Deck Railing height

What is the minimum deck railing height?

Deck railing is 3’0 high, if grade to your deck level is less than 6’0 high.

See image below.

Deck railing is 3’6 high, if grade to your deck level is more than 6’0 high.

See image below.

Dimensions are based on the Alberta Building Code 2019, Division B

Experiences and Insight of an Architect.