British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VIDEO: Our 8 favourite COVID-19 catch phrases of 2020

From ‘stick to six’ to ‘be kind, be calm, be safe’ we look at the top phrases that pay homage to 2020

There were undoubtedly many factors that came into play as health officials scrambled to convince a whole province to turn their lives upside down this year. Judging by the constant stream of information, it looks like repetition was one of them.

Weekly – and daily during the height of pandemic – updates from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix became part of the afternoon routine for readers and journalists alike. Amid the daily case counts – oftentimes invoking concern and more questions than answers – came words of encouragement and direction in how British Columbians could navigate their day-to-day.

In particular, a few dozen catchphrases surfaced – one that has become so well-known its been sewn onto pillowcases, highlighted on holiday cards and incorporated into how we are told to respond to all the negativity and divisiveness the pandemic has brought with it.

To pay homage to the biggest newsmaker of 2020 – a virus we won’t soon forget – Black Press Media has looked back in time to countdown some of the most popular catchphrases that came about:

8. Find virtue in virtual – April 8

Said by Dix in April, ahead of the Easter Long weekend, virtual celebrations became a staple in how British Columbians connect with their loved ones.

“This will be a long weekend like we have never experienced,” Dix said at a news conference at the time. “Its religious and family significance is as strong as ever, but we must find other ways to make it memorable, restorative and affirming.

“Find the virtue in virtual and telephone connections, find togetherness without gathering, find comfort in your own home with family.”

7. Stay local, stay apart, stay safe – May 11

Another phrase shared ahead of a long weekend – this time in May, Dix and Henry urged people to stay close to home and avoid unnecessary travel as the weather started to warm.

At the time, B.C. was looking towards a reopening plan that would see businesses and services restart from the March to May shutdown.

“Stay apart, stay local, stay safe,” Dix said. “We can’t let up.”

6. Break the Chain Day (BC Day) – July 30

Avoiding a surge in COVID-19 cases through the summer was crucial for health officials. After rules were broken on Canada Day – leading to big spikes in infections seen across the province originating in Kelowna – Dix and Henry urged those partaking in August long weekend events to stay small in their gatherings.

“Let’s make this long weekend a different one than what we saw in early July,” Henry said at the time.

Dix meanwhile underscored the critical nature of safe gatherings by taking the “B.C.” in B.C. Day and giving alternate and timely meanings: Break the Chain Day, Battle COVID Day, Bend the Curve Day.

5. Don’t go, don’t throw, say no – Nov 5

Hosting parties got all the more difficult – and dangerous – in 2020, due to the virus spreading easiest indoors.

In November, many of the new infections were being traced through contact tracers back to house parties, sparking warnings and threats of fines by health officials.

In a Nov. 5 briefing, Dix said British Columbians should have a simple approach to house parties: “Don’t go, don’t throw, say no.”

4. When in doubt, rule it out – Dec 10

Most recently, ahead of Christmas, health officials placed a ban on social gatherings of all sizes and kinds – forcing many to adapt their plans over the holidays. But the rules, criticized for being vague, left many unclear as to how their personal situation will be implicated by the restrictions.

For those people, Henry and Dix suggested to be safer than sorry.

“When in doubt, rule it out,” Dix said in a Dec. 10 news conference. “When there is additional risk, rule it out.”

3. Stick to Six – Sept. 10

Six became an important number in B.C.’s pandemic response, specifically when it came to how many people one should have in their social bubble.

“Stick to six if you’re going out to a restaurant or a bar, to make sure your group is no larger than six,” Dix said during a Sept. 10 news conference.

“Stick to six if you’re hosting a small gathering in your home and if your home is smaller, if it’s an apartment like mine, less than six. “Stick to six when you’re going out with others or having them over. Remember to choose from the same six people, not different groups. Stick to six with others outside your host household.”

2. Bend the curve, not the rules – April 7

At the height of COVID-19’s first wave crashing in B.C., Dix and Henry coupled encouragement to those following the rules with stern words for those hindering the province from “bending the curve” of COVID cases.

The term bending the curve, which points to the upwards curve in cases as seen on charts and graphs, also became a popular phrase in the early-to-mid months of 2020.

“Let’s enjoy as much as we can with what we have here and the many blessings we have here, but let’s enjoy them without travel.

“This is the 12th week Dr. Henry and I have been doing COVID-19 briefings,” Dix told British Columbians on April 7. “To be 100 per cent all in requires a lot of all of you, but we need it now more than ever. When there is some evidence that we are flattening the curve, we need to double down now…

“So let’s bend the curve not bend the rules. Let’s continue to be 100 per cent all in, committed to our collective effort to stop the transmission of COVID-19.”

1. Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe – March 17

A phrase many cannot read in their head without hearing Henry’s calming voice, “Be kind, be calm be safe” has become a weaving thread in the fabric of B.C.’s COVID-19 response.

A simple message, repeated in almost every news conference since March 17 when Henry first used it publicly, has served as a reminder for how British Columbians can calmly navigate the social isolation of the pandemic, how we should show kindness to strangers when following health policies in public and even how we must follow the rules to keep our seniors and each other safe.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Best of 2020

Just Posted

The CP station at Glacier was built in 1916. It is located at the western end of the Connaught Tunnel in Glacier National Park. This photo was taken in mid-June, 2021. (Contributed)
LETTER: Historic but not preserved

Submit letters to the editor to jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

Tania McCabe is the city’s director of finance. (File photo)
What’s going on with my property taxes? Q&A with Tania McCabe

Deadline to pay property taxes in Revelstoke is July 2 this year

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Revelstoke Grizzlies playing in 2019. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Do you like Revelstoke hockey? Then host a Grizzlies hockey player!

The team is getting ready for next year’s hockey season

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read