We continue to experience new cases of COVID-19 infection within our B&M ranks. My last message did not account for two other emerging incidents. To get everyone caught up, I can tell you that we have had 6 new confirmed cases since the beginning of July, bringing our total to 12 for the pandemic thus far. So, we doubled the case count we previously experienced from March through June in the span of a single month. This is discouraging.

It is a huge relief that none of our people stricken by COVID-19 have experienced serious illness or side effects thus far. While two of the recently infected people are still recovering, the rest are back at work.

I suppose it is expected that B&M will be touched by the virus like everyone else. That some of our people will get sick. We are certainly doing well compared to many others. But each time that thought creeps into my mind, I remind myself of the following old joke:

Two campers where hiking in the forest when all of a sudden a bear jumps out of a bush and starts chasing them. Both campers start running for their lives when one of them stops, pulls a pair of running shoes from a pack, and starts putting them one.

The other says, “What are you doing? We don’t have time for this! You can’t outrun a bear!”

The friend replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you.”

Slightly better than others is good when we are pricing a job. But there is no such glory when it comes to our health and our safety. Our goal is no illness and no injury. Without question, B&M is doing well. In past updates, I have provided statistical evidence of this fact. But when our aim is to be perfect, we cannot accept the notion of slightly better. It just does not cut it.

July was clearly a setback within our company but there is a lot to be optimistic about in general. We are learning more about this coronavirus and how it is transmitted. This has dramatically increased the use and acceptance of masks. There are encouraging advancements in medical treatments for COVID-19 patients. Vaccine development is occurring at a furious pace globally. Access to testing and turnaround times are improving in most places. Contact tracing is more disciplined and thorough. Governments in many places continue to make bold choices to arrest the spread of the virus. People are following the rules.

We Torontonians enter Phase 3 of reopening today. It worries me. We may relax and not be as careful. It has certainly happened elsewhere. But there has been significant progress in suppressing the virus. We had only 4 new cases on Wednesday. There are nearly 3 million people in this city (6.5 including our suburbs). Within the Province of Ontario, we experienced 89 new cases yesterday. 76 the day before. We have not been below 100 since March 24. There are 15 million people in Ontario.

Nova Scotia has had a clean sheet for nearly two months. Perfection as it relates to COVID-19 is not a fantasy. It can be a reality.

So please keep your masks up, your hands clean and your distance proper. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.