Gabriel Ferland and Serge Soucy are part of the squad COVID established by the CISSS de la Gaspésie.
21 July 2020 14h13
In the Gaspé, a squad to remind tourists that the COVID-19 does not take a vacation
Initiative of journalism-local – The Sun
PIERCED — Many are the smiles, the more that the masks, on the face of holidaymakers as they stormed the city centre of Percé. Serge Soucy, armed with his stories and his joy of living, has a mission : to remind visitors that the COVID-19, it does not take a vacation.
“Did you know that the Rocher-Percé, it’s like mount Rushmore ? We can see the face of Jacques Cartier if you look well!” said Serge, a couple from montréal, laughing, before explaining how to properly fold a mask once seated at the restaurant. “Thank you very much for the course 101, and congratulations!” call the lady, all smiles, before continuing its route.
With his colleague, Gabriel, a student in the natural sciences for 16 years, they are part of the “squad COVID” put on by the CISSS de la Gaspésie. Every day for a little over a week, they are four or five to walk the streets of the small village in order to encourage the public, local and tourist, to apply measures to prevent the coronavirus, invites, him also, in the peninsula. “We are like posters mobile,” says Mr. Soucy. When people see us with our bibs are white, they will say : “Ah yes, it is true, we must continue to be careful”” he believes.
In addition to the squad COVID, the CISSS has put together a trailer for screening to be Drilled. Every day, tourists and locals will be invited to be tested if they suspect to have been in contact with the virus. During its first day of operation, June 24, 14 tests have been carried out to the trailer to screening, mostly by people from outside the region.
Do not play police
When we explained to him the project, Gabriel is expected to make a little the font “COVID”, he says walking on the promenade by the sea, between the two interventions. “I thought there would be more confrontation, more people would send me for a walk,” says the young man. Just like his colleague, Serge, Gabriel was surprised by the welcome and attention of the tourists. “People come to see us, thanking us. At the beginning, it was really surprising, we expected everything but this,” he notes.
It is because of the bad information that is conveyed about the COVID-19 that the young man from Grande-Rivière decided to get involved in the squad. “We see and we hear so much all sorts of things that one loses. I think it is important that everyone do his or her part.”
The initiative has the effect of reassuring the people, particularly the local population. At the opening of the roadblocks, the Gaspesians had been rather fearful to see hordes of tourists, particularly in major cities, to land on the beaches and in the villages. “People are reassured when they see that it is there to remind that the virus does not take a vacation. The locals are very grateful,” says Serge, before apostropher by a former classmate. “In any case, thank you very much Serge! A chance that you’re here!” she says moving away.
It is, therefore, a sudden of conversations, anecdotes and jokes that the duo will raise awareness of the vacationers to the measures to be taken, in the course of the summer. “It’s also become half of the tourist guides,” says Serge, laughing.
Brigades that are similar to those in place in Percé have also been posted to Carleton-sur-Mer, in the Gaspé and Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. They will remain there at least for the high tourist season, confirms the CISSS.