We’re in the middle of our two favourite seasons: summer and Mardi Gras. It’s a great time for being outdoors, meeting up with friends and family, having fun and celebrating. But we’re also in the middle of a pandemic and unfortunately the easing of restrictions has lulled many of us into a dangerous level of complacency.
COVID-19, in all its variants, is still out there posing high risk to vulnerable members of the LGBTQI+ community. That’s why it’s so important to be extra vigilant at this time of the year: keep testing regularly; get all your vaccinations including the booster; try to minimise physical contact with people; practice hand hygiene; wear a mask.
A COVID-Safe Mardi Gras For Rainbow Families
“For our family, COVID safety is at the heart of planning for how we will attend Mardi Gras and Rainbow Families events in 2022,” says Scott Brunelle, Board Co-chair of Rainbow Families.
Scott is married and has three kids. Being COVID safe is part of the family drill. They carry masks at all times, wearing them whenever they’re indoors or can’t socially distance outdoors. “In our family, if we see any signs of symptoms of COVID, we stay home and take a COVID test. The last thing we want to do is inadvertently put our friends and family at risk,” says Scott.
The whole family is looking forward to Fair Day where they’ll hang out at the Rainbow Families booth and catch up with friends. They’re also excited about marching in the parade this year.
“To keep our family and community safe, we will be wearing our masks when we can’t stay 1.5 metres apart and getting tested before [each] event to make sure we are free from COVID,” says Scott. His youngest son, aged 10, had his first vaccination shot in January when kids aged 5-11 became eligible.
“We wanted to ensure he had the best protection against COVID before he went back to school,” says Scott. “Rainbow Families has so many events planned for 2022 and we are looking forward to being able to attend events in a COVID safe way.”
Vaccinate, Mask Up And Test
Board Co-chair of Rainbow Families, Kylie Gwynne, also practises a high level of COVID safety with her teenage son, Sammy.
“Sammy and I have had our third vaccine dose which means we are ready to start celebrating Mardi Gras 2022 with Rainbow Families,” Kylie says.
“We can’t wait for Fair Day – it is our favourite event on the Mardi Gras calendar (after the Parade of course!). We’ll hang out at the Rainbow Families booth and can’t wait to catch up with friends in real life.”
Kylie and Sammy are also marching with Rainbow Families in this year’s parade.
Like Scott, Kylie will enforce safe COVID measures including wearing masks and testing regularly, especially before each event. “We are very careful about managing our own risk of getting COVID by taking as many reasonable precautions as possible whilst still enjoying Mardi Gras. We worry about people with underlying medical conditions and want to help ensure everyone can participate in Mardi Gras safely.”
If either of them feel unwell, both Kylie and Sammy get tested and stay home until they get a negative result.
“We also rely on no contact on-line shopping and food delivery services so we protect delivery drivers and ourselves.”
Online And Accessible
Rainbow Families has made many of their services available online so families can access them from home, including Making Rainbow Families seminar; Parenting course; Drag Story Time; and their Love Makes A Family podcast. They also have an exciting calendar of “in real life” activities coming up.
“Rainbow Families has so many events planned for 2022 and we are looking forward to being able to attend events in a COVID safe way. Sammy has been able to participate in the Youth Advisory Committee face to face and on-line over the past year and is looking forward to more COVID safe activities in 2022, ” says Kylie.