New Brunswick grandmother dressed in costumes spreads joy amid coronavirus pandemic

Kids in southeastern New Brunswick rushed outside over the weekend for a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny, who spread joy from a safe distance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The woman behind the ears is Turtle Creek’s Debbie Tingley, a grandma forced to be away from her own grandkids, who said she’s determined to make families smile while they’re staying safe at home during the outbreak.

“I am just going around to neighbourhoods with small children to kind of brighten up their day,” said Tingley.

She said it’s put a spring in her own step, too.

“I don’t go near anybody. It doesn’t hurt anybody — they come out to the window or the front door and it starts with three children and all of a sudden, (at) every second house there is a bunch of children at the windows,” she said.

The Easter Bunny is not her only character; Tingley said she has a whole tickle trunk of costumes she’s been climbing into since the start of the pandemic.

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“I bought another costume and another costume, and now I have a small fleet of costumes,” she said.

She said Mr. Potato Head is a big hit with the kids.

“Just something to talk about and dream about that night, maybe.”

Her costume changes can be a little cumbersome, said Tingley, but it’s worth it.

“It just makes me feel good that I can make somebody else smile and have a good day.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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