When most couples choose to live apart, it’s because they fell in love, but Andrew Pilgrim and Taryn McQuillan do it because they love each other.
Pilgrim, 25, is an energy engineer at ArcelorMittal Dofasco and after some free time he is about to return – but Pilgrim is worried the next time he returns home to Smithville after his first shift next Monday, he could bring COVID-19 with him.
It would be devastating for his pregnant and diabetic wife and their two-year-old son.
“It’s not a risk we can take,” said McQuillan.
Now Pilgrim will live with his parents, who do not both have weaker immune systems like his wife.
“These are desperate times”
The family is not entitled to any assistance that forces them to work.
He will spend most of his time in a control room.
“It’s a bit closed … you’re in touch with more people and people touch the things you touch,” he said.
While Pilgrim said the company was taking precautions, there was little they could do.
“When people leave work, they stop and do the grocery shopping, stop and do this and that and go to work the next day. You don’t really know what people are going to bring in and out,” a he said.
After moving in with his parents, Pilgrim will likely drop off his supplies at McQuillan or they will have supplies delivered.
It will likely be the longest period of separation for the couple in years.
“It’s like war,” he said. “These are desperate moments and you have to do what works for you.”
Pilgrim added that colleagues fear having to start shifts that require staff to stay on site for two weeks at a time – whatever the situation, Pilgrim understands that workers like him have to work so that the rest of the city works.
“What you do can affect anyone”
But it’s worrying for McQuillan.
“Andrew is doing a lot around the house and helping a lot, it’s going to be a huge change and being pregnant and emotional already, it’s going to be really difficult I think,” she said.
Now, experts believe pregnancy does not make you more vulnerable to infection or more severe symptoms, but information about the virus is constantly changing as new information comes in.
“We have made so many phone calls to public health, occupational health, our family doctor and the only answer we really get is” we don’t know what to do, “said McQuillan.
Although McQuillan and Pilgrim say they are at the mercy of others and hope that people can take physical distance seriously.
“The health of many other people depends on people’s vigilance and selfishness about the coronavirus,” said McQuillan.
“What you do can affect anyone.”