Saskatchewan

Heroes, not 'serial killers': People write messages of support outside Regina hospital after COVID-19 protests

Notes of love and encouragement were written in chalk outside Regina General Hospital on Thursday, after a small group of people protested outside the hospital Tuesday and Wednesday against various pandemic response measures.

Protest messages have been scrubbed off the pavement outside the hospital

After messages protesting the province's COVID-response, messages of support for SHA workers

2 months ago
0:32
A group of protestors posted signs outside Regina's General Hospital earlier this week and now people are responding with messages of support for health-care workers 0:32

Things were looking a lot more cheerful outside the Regina General Hospital Thursday.

Around the hospital and up to its entrance, chalk-drawn notes of love and encouragement were written for hospital staff:

'"We are with you, we care." 

"We need you." 

"Don't lose hope."

A small group of protesters that has frequently been stationed outside the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina, as well as the immunization centre in the city, moved over to the general hospital Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The presence of the group — who were protesting a range of COVID-19 pandemic responses — at the hospital created outrage, amidst record-high COVID-19 cases in intensive-care units.

Benjamin Carlson lives one block away from the main entrance.

"It started just with music blaring when I was trying to concentrate, but then I looked out the window and I saw somebody had written 'SHA [Saskatchewan Health Authority] serial killers' on the pavement and it really upset me."

New sunny messages of support greeted Regina General Hospital workers on Thursday. (Benjamin Carlson )

So Carlson and his wife decided to do something about it. 

"She had noticed Facebook posts where people were talking about just writing encouraging messages on the pavement. And because it's such a big corner here and it's really visible ... I just thought that would be perfect. So my wife just said, 'Why don't we go out on a lunch break and just write some inspiring messages on the sidewalk?'" said Carlson. 

"They had written 'SHA serial killers, so I wrote 'SHA heroes."

Carlson said other people have written positive messages not just up to the entrance, but along 15th Ave., up to the employee entrance and the mental health wing. 

This message from protesters greeting those entering and exiting the Regina General Hospital on Wednesday has since been scrubbed off the pavement. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

On Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe and Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili spoke out against the presence of the protesters at the hospital. 

Meili had revealed that his father had recently been in the ICU at the Regina hospital with a non-COVID related illness.

"What does it feel like if you're leaving the hospital, visiting a loved one in the ICU, and then you go out and see these idiots with signs saying COVID isn't real?" Meili said.

"It's completely offensive, ridiculous. It shouldn't happen. And these people need to get a life."

Carlson said that on both days the protesters arrived at 2 p.m. and left at around 5 p.m.

But they did not show up on Thursday. 

He said workers were outside the hospital Thursday morning scrubbing the protest messages off the pavement.

"I would say there's definitely a much more positive vibe now."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from the University of British Columbia. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

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