Nova Scotia — During his daily briefing on Monday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the services of “Old Man Winter” would retain their essential status, unrestricted by Covid-19 measures.
Mr. Winter has come under some controversy for being permitted to travel through closed borders during the crisis in order to transport what many believe to be non-essential frozen precipitation. Canadians in the eastern region argue that Old Man Winter’s employment term should be cut short like other seasonal occupations. Instead, Mr. Winter has been granted an extension.
Trudeau explained, “What we’re seeing, especially near the eastern coast of Nova Scotia, is that Old Man Winter has provided an effective deterrent to social gatherings. This is what we know. And as a region hit particularly hard by Covid-19, we’d like to see more of that.”
Not everyone agrees. Throughout April, as Old Man Winter delivered snow, ice pellets and a new innovation he calls “graupel” across parts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Maritimers took to social media to voice their complaints under the hashtag STAYTHEFREEZESHOME.
Buster McIntyre wrote, “I thought we were done. I put my shovel in the shed and now I got to get it back out again. I don’t think it’s fair I can’t even go visit my old man to bring him a bucket of chicken, and this Old Man is allowed to come on my property and dump ice and shit all over the tulips.”
Marian Ferguson of Dartmouth tweeted, “Took down my patio umbrella and wet snow went down the back of my shirt. Wish the Old Man would follow social distancing rules.”
In a phone interview Mr. Winter told The Manatee that criticism comes as no surprise to him.
“Canadians have been complaining about me since the Ice Age. I get that you’re eager to switch to your open-toed shoes in a timely manner. But understand that my hours have been getting cut shorter every year with all this climate change. I may even be forced into retirement. The winter industry has been hard hit. This pandemic extension, it’s been my only chance to liquidate my extra inventory after a mild winter.”
On April 28, Old Man Winter spent much of the day unloading a back log of wet snow, freezing rain, sleet, pellets and hail onto otherwise mild coastal areas. He has not yet announced any firm dates for closing the season, but he warns, “Don’t put your toques away.”