Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

The question

I came down with coronavirus-like symptoms a week ago and am waiting for my COVID-19 test results. I am now in self-isolation indefinitely. I live in a three-unit house, in my own apartment with my own entrance. We all share a backyard that I would like to use to get some sunlight and fresh air, as I get through my self-isolation. I get the impression that my housemates would prefer if I hid away and did not emerge until I’m completely recovered. I figure that they have the rest of the city to enjoy the outdoors. How do we navigate this as a group of virtual strangers? Also, my housemates are prying and would like daily updates on my health. Usually I would view this as my privileged, personal medical information, but there is a highly infectious pandemic going on.

The answer

First, good on you for self-isolating. No one knows how long this crazy situation will last. But we do know that the more we all pull together, the sooner it’s over. As my mother-in-law, who is imbued with a great measure of wisdom and has seen a few things, says: “This too shall pass.”

In the meantime: You need to get outside. Get some fresh air. Ideally a little exercise. It’s not only important for mental health, it’s imperative that you get some vitamin D.

Story continues below advertisement

I certainly think your neighbours should understand your need to get out of your unit.

At the same time, I understand their point of view, too. If I discovered someone in my vicinity had coronovirus-type symptoms, I’d be extremely nervous indeed. People can talk about “flattening the curve” and “opening things up” all they want, but this thing is extremely contagious. It hurts and kills people.

So, I think your neighbours are well within their rights to ask (from a safe physical distance, of course), about your health, progress and test results. I would answer their questions politely and be compassionate and understanding of their legitimate concerns.

As you yourself say, there is a pandemic under way, and what normally might seem to be rude and intrusive questions are not any more.

I’m afraid I ultimately sympathize more with their position than yours. But maybe you can work out some sort of compromise, e.g. a schedule of different times for using the backyard.

And, I certainly hope you wear a mask whenever you go out anywhere – especially should you have need to go beyond your property,

Although I don’t have the virus (although who knows, I could be asymptomatic), I always wear my mask when I’m going outside as a courtesy to fellow citizens. It might be my imagination, but they seem a little friendlier and, even perhaps, a little less standoffish.

Story continues below advertisement

You, however, are under a moral obligation to wear a mask. Apologies if that comes across as too harsh, and I pray that you don’t have it.

Are you in a sticky situation? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com. Please keep your submissions to 150 words and include a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

Sign up for the weekly Parenting & Relationships newsletter for news and advice to help you be a better parent, partner, friend, family member or colleague.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies