Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on July 28, 2020.

Summer is on and though everyone hoped that the virus will just succumb to hot weather, that’s not the case. Summer weather draws people out and many choose to do it the ‘old’ way – huddling together for parties and such, forgetting any references to social distancing, masks, and the like. Yes, the number of new covid-19 cases in on the rise again. But making up for lost time should not be coming at such a high price.

A few photos shared on social media over the weekend showed beaches packed with people in Penticton and party boats filled to the brim in Kelowna. Things can get ugly fast when people are careless and many cases linked to Kelowna are proof to that.

Some of the remote communities such as the one of Haida Gwaii are also seeing cases of this dreaded disease, and that’s despite the fact that they fought hard to keep visitors away. Some said it might have been a resident who traveled and returned home with the virus. Regardless. A stark reminder that it starts with one person.

It’s tough to not see family and friends or vacation at a favourite place but then again, we are so fortunate to not be stuck in a place where staycations are dreadful.

We’re in the place that HelloBC recently called the ‘Interior B.C.’s heart-pumping outdoor adventure capital.’ Yep, that’s Kamloops. I’d say it sounds just right and another way of saying it is that we’re darn lucky.

With lots to do around here, covid-19 is but one of the things we ought to have it mind.

The other one is the actual heat we’re about to see over the next little while. It’s hot and getting hotter.

Kids’ skin can get burned easily and that goes for the rest of us. Stay out when the sun is the hottest.

That includes dogs too. The pavement gets too hot to walk on with bare feet so please don’t take your dogs for walks in the middle of the day, unless that means heading to one of the many lakes where shade is aplenty. Dogs overheat easily. Don’t leave them in the car, even for a couple of minutes.

Every summer, we read about dog owners leaving their furry friends in hot cars. It’s torture for dogs, and sometimes sure death. For owners, it’s a fine, but not large enough to deter others from doing it.

If you spot such a situation, call the police or the SPCA rather than risk an altercation.

It goes without saying that the same strict rules apply to little humans: don’t leave babies and toddlers in the car. We all remember a few tragedies that are incomprehensible. Let’s hope to never see that happen ever again.

Next on the list is beach time. Whether lake or river, make sure you judge your own swimming abilities objectively enough to stay out of trouble. A young man from Edmonton is presumed drowned at Shuswap Lake and another at Cultus lake just in the last few days.

People float down the rivers, and they do so with drinks in hand and not a worry in the world. If that’s you or your loved ones, add life jackets to the mix. They are named that for the most obvious reason. You’ll live to tell the story.

Summer is good and bountiful in all ways, including fresh produce which, again, we’re lucky to have growing in and around Kamloops. Go visit the farmer’s market if you haven’t yet – it’s the very definition of joy and health combined!

Enjoy it all – food, beach time, great company, and generally being out and about, but do it with safety in mind. Oh, last but not least, campfires. Make sure you put yours out properly before leaving. A spark is all it takes.

It’s not fear we ought to carry around this time of the year, but common sense. It’s worth it and it makes for better fun.