St. Jacobs Mennonite community adjusting lifestyle during pandemic
ST. JACOBS -- Members of the Mennonite community in and around St. Jacobs have had to adjust their lifestyle like many others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The village is known for its Mennonite heritage and features a number of shops and facilities frequented by the community.
The Woolwich Community Health Centre now only physically sees patients who are in need of urgent, acute, or essential care.
“We regularly see 9,000 patients,” said Rosslyn Bentley, Executive Director of the centre. “About 1,200 are Mennonites.”
Those who do come to the facility still have to call in advance and only one is allowed inside at a time.
The calling in requirement may be a big ask for ‘Old Order’ Mennonites.
“They wouldn’t have any cell phones, radio, TV, and drive horse and buggies,” said Dale Martin, Fire Chief for the Woolwich Fire Department. “I am a Mennonite so I can speak their language.”
While Martin isn’t considered ‘Old Order’, he’s been helping the community by hand delivering updates on the COVID-19 crisis daily.
“I print it off and deliver it to them,” said Martin. “[The situation] is something new for everybody regardless of where you’re from.”
The health centre echoes the statement and also offers aid for those in need of additional assistance.
“It is difficult to understand when you’re already isolated then why would the mainstream world have an impact on you?” said Bentley. “At this time everybody is having an impact on everybody.”
Staff at the health centre say Mennonites still have to abide by the same physical distancing rules, which also apply to those who have multiple people in one household.