Nova Scotians and Canadians alike are in mourning after at least 22 people, including an RCMP officer, were killed in a shooting rampage over the weekend.
This adds tremendous pain to an already difficult situation, as the world continues to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a news conference on Monday afternoon, Premier Stephen McNeil and Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, addressed Sunday's mass shooting, and reiterated the importance of maintaining physical distancing while mourning the victims.
“While we want to mourn victims and come together as communities, we need to do that in a way that does not create an environment for COVID-19 to further spread," said Strang, who wore a Nova Scotia tartan tie in a silent, but meaningful tribute.
"I know that the RCMP and the victims' families will appreciate the outpouring of support that is coming their way, but we cannot gather together to support. When COVID-19 is passed, and it will, we can come together as a province, stronger than ever, to come together to remember the victims of yesterday’s tragedy in a way we are accustomed to. But today, we need to focus on mourning safely," added Strang.
Next to Strang, Premier Stephen McNeil sported a tartan pocket square and suggested an alternative way of mourning at a distance.
″A Nova Scotian tartan scarf, tie it around a tree. Or if you don’t have tartan, the suggestion is a blue ribbon. You can even put that on your window or on your balcony.” suggested McNeil during Monday's press conference.
Nova Scotians and Canadians responded by taking to social media to display their tartan tributes in memory of the lost lives.
Stop The Violence activist Quentrel Provo held an online vigil on his personal Facebook page on Monday evening.
“Trying to gather our community together during this really tough time in the only way I know how, by doing it via Facebook live. It's very tough during a pandemic," said Provo.
He lit a candle in memory of the victims, and encouraged his more than 3,000 live viewers to do the same, while sharing prayers and messages in the comments.
“Let's just come together and, you know, pray and show some love for the families,” said Provo. “I know we're hurting as a province, Canada is hurting for us.”
Others turned to Twitter to show their candles, and even Christmas lights, on display in memory of the lives lost.