What do Canadians miss most after one year of COVID-19?

TORONTO — As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, Canadians from across the country are reflecting on a lost year, with optimism that a sense of normalcy will soon return.

March 11 marks the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization officially considering COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, Canada has had nearly 900,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 22,000 deaths.

Amid a year of isolation, physical distancing and Zoom parties, Canadians long for in-person interactions once again.

Restaurants in Toronto remain closed to in-person customers, but Paula and Jerry Noce, owners of Romi’s, a pizzeria in Toronto, are eager to welcome customers back into their doors.

“Oh, I miss the interaction, talking to people, customers that you know, sometimes they come in, they give you a hug, you can’t do that now, you can’t do anything like that,” said Paula Noce.

Businesses have been especially hard-hit in the pandemic.

Jeremy Webb, artistic director of the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, says closures have made it hard to keep the business running.

“Our hope for a few months out from now is that we still exist,” she said.

Webb hopes the theatre will one day help the artists in the region.

“They need that connectivity in their lives,” he said.

Others yearn to restore a connection with their families when things cool down.

“We haven’t seen our family in Toronto for a year now, so we’re going to go back there,” said Adrian Brijbassi, a travel writer in Vancouver.

Brijbassi added that he also intends to take his son to Nova Scotia for lobster when possible.

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