People stood on the sidewalks clapping, waving, making any noise they could. Vehicle horns sounded and ambulance, fire truck and police sirens screamed, too.
That was the scene in downtown Hanover and for most of the rest of the town at about 7 p.m. Monday as the Hanover Fire Department, Grey County Paramedics and Hanover Police Service organized a Sirens for Support Workers community parade in honour of local healthcare workers.
“It was fairly overwhelming,” Hanover fire chief Jeff Dentinger said. “We did it to support the healthcare heroes in Hanover, but also to help with some community spirit. We were overwhelmed with the amount of support the community showed. People still were using social distancing, which was great. It’s a tough time for everyone, so we thought here’s an opportunity to show our support and foster some positivity in the community.”
First responders left the Canadian Tire parking lot at about 6:55 p.m., turned on their emergency lights and sirens as they made their way down 10th Street, turned onto 7th Avenue, and continued to the parking lot of the Hanover and District Hospital.
“It was really nice to see the community participation and appreciation for our healthcare heroes,” Hanover Police Chief Chris Knoll said. “Honestly, it was a heart-warming event, and it just goes to show how committed our town is to each other and the people working to keep us healthy and safe.”
Once the parade arrived at HDH, a group of nurses, physicians and other hospital staff stood outside, waved and thanked those involved.
“That was great,” Dentinger said. “A lot of the ER staff, some physicians I recognized, nursing staff, administrative staff, so we wanted to do a nice drive by just to make sure they knew they are all being supported.”
Knoll described it as a great experience.
“I think they appreciated us showing that support,” Knoll said.
Mayor Sue Paterson said she was proud of the community support on display.
“I was proud that our first responders energized our community to show support for our healthcare heroes,” Paterson said. “We are in this together and we will get through this together. Hanover was loud and proud.”
As much as the community gathered to show their support for local healthcare workers, Knoll was just as impressed with how people maintained their social distancing.
“They maintained their physical presence, but many even stayed in their vehicles, and that was nice to see,” Knoll said.
The parade came hours after Paterson officially declared a state of emergency in Hanover in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining many other Grey-Bruce communities in doing so.
“The Town of Hanover continues to be proactive in our approach to COVID-19 to ensure that the impact of the situation does not affect necessary services for residents. It will provide a framework for redistribution of staff, as well as access to decision-making power provided under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The Town of Hanover is committed to ensuring the safety of both its residents and staff,” Paterson stated in a release.