Canadians share personal stories of how they’re coping during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted lives across the country — affecting work, school, family and the economy.

Several provinces are now in the midst of the pandemic’s second wave, which is breaking records for case counts and straining health-care systems. Over 12,000 Canadians have died since the pandemic began. 

CBC’s The National hosted a special broadcast on Tuesday evening, to address some of the issues people, and the country, are facing.

Canadians shared their stories about how they’re coping with the pandemic, and their concerns for what’s ahead. They included:

Mom worried about her kids’ mental health

Leah Gibbons lives with her husband Larry, their five children and a four-month old grandson in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Gibbons’ biggest worry as the pandemic rages on is how her children will cope being cooped up indoors together and maintaining her income as schools are closed. 1:01

Leah Gibbons is a school bus driver and mother of six who lives in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. She’s currently not working because schools are closed and is concerned about how her kids will cope with being stuck indoors during a long winter. Both Gibbons and her husband are trying to make ends meet as the bills continue to pile up. 

Restaurant manger concerned if industry will survive

Meaghan Murray has spent 20 years working in the restaurant industry. But the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in her work and pay being drastically reduced and she is struggling to pay her bills. She wonders if she’ll be able to find work in another field. 1:05

Toronto restaurant manager Meaghan Murray has worked in the hospitality industry for over two decades and has seen her hours drastically reduced due to the pandemic. She’s started a few side hustles, including a soup business, but it’s not enough to cover her expenses. Murray says she’s uncertain about what will be next for her career, and the industry overall.

Realtors worried what 2nd wave means for work, home life

Beth and Ryan Waller live and work as realtors in Guelph Ont. Learning how to do their jobs from home while supporting their kids and ensuring they are engaged with school has been challenging. But how will the second wave impact their business? 0:57

Beth and Ryan Waller moved to Guelph, Ont., to raise their family and launch a real estate company in 2008. Helping guide their three daughters through homeschooling and missing their friends has been challenging, as is working from home. But they are also anticipating the uncertainty of the real estate market, as infections continue to rise in Ontario.

Gym owner trying to stay profitable

Jennifer Lau’s boutique fitness studio has been closed longer than it’s been open, as she first launched the business in August 2019. She says the government hasn’t provided enough support to the health and wellness industry and she’ll need to find creative ways to keep her studio profitable. 1:06

Jennifer Lau opened her small business, a boutique gym in Toronto, in the summer of 2019. They were only open for a few months before the first lockdown happened in March. Lau worries she’s not receiving enough financial support to keep the gym from shutting down permanently and wonders if the business will survive the second lockdown.

Nurse hopes pandemic has shown importance of community

Verena Rizg lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and says she’s exposed to those who are suffering the most from the COVID-19 pandemic. But she’s hopeful more will acknowledge the importance of community as it’s needed now more than ever. 1:05

Verena Rizg, a nurse practitioner with the Canadian Armed Forces, says she’s treated those who are suffering the most from COVID-19. But she’s also seen communities working hard to support one another. She hopes that behaviour remains when the crisis is over.

Logistics co-ordinator faces challenges of living alone in Nunavut

Randy Miller is 61 years old and has lived in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut for 35 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has made living alone more difficult as he can’t visit friends and family down South, as he usually does several times a year. 1:02

Randy Miller has lived in Nunavut for 35 years and works as a logistics co-ordinator for Nunavut Canada. But while he’d usually visit friends and family in the South several times a year, his visits have been cut due to the pandemic. He says living alone without a reprieve has been difficult. 

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