A screenshot of the fake letter sent out in Nova Scotia on April 1, 2020, which makes false claims about plans for the current school term. (Facebook photo)

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Sometimes – especially during a global pandemic – you just need to have a good laugh.

While some mega-companies, such as Google, decided to forego this year’s shenanigans because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, others decided to still take part.

Ducks Unlimited Canada announced a phoney “super beaver task force initiative” involving attaching a GoPro to beavers and training them to inspect remote conservation sites.

West Vancouver Police and North Vancouver RCMP joined forces and rolled out an “integrated mountain bike unit,” but in a video warned that the joke was organized before the novel coronavirus was deemed a significant health emergency.

“In the video it is obvious we aren’t practising social distancing,” Const. Kevin Goodmurphy can be heard saying.

“We also know it’s been hard to find laughter lately – hard but not impossible, I mean we are Canadians and our humour, especially our ability to laugh at ourselves is part of our national idenity,” Sgt. Peter DeVries adds.

“In times like these we need to laugh now and then.”

DC Comics posted an illustration of the joker – with specific instructions to look in the bottom left corner.

In posts on social media, the Abbotsford Police Department, known for pranks such as shooting Tim Horton’s timbits through a make-shift cannon at distracted drivers, said they wouldn’t be participating this year because “we couldn’t come up with anything that could match what is happening in the world right now.”

The day before April Fool’s Day, on March 31, talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel suggested people stay homebound with their pranks.

“This one is very ripe because everyone is so on edge and we have nothing but time,” he said.

Kimmel goes on to suggest “simple ways to torment your loved ones,” including announcing that you’ve cancelled streaming services to spend time with one another or setting an Alexa or Google Home to remind everyone to wash their hands every four minutes.

Police urge public to avoid COVID-19 pranks

Law enforcement across the country are warning people not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline in their pranks.

In Osoyoos, police are investigating a concerning social media scam which falsely claims people will be canvassing door to door in the community to try to find residents willing to house seasonal workers.

In a news release, Mounties said the post contained other inappropriate comments about how the workers would repay the homeowners.

Officers have since found the person responsible for creating the post, who claimed it was an April Fool’s Day prank. The post has been removed.

In Nova Scotia, it appears someone has created a fake letter from the ministry of education which claims schools will be closed until May 31, instead of May 1 as previously announced by privincial officials.

It also falsely states that the school year will be extended through to the end of August.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil quickly took to social media to correct the misinformation and condemn the joke.

“In the current climate of fighting against COVID-19 and trying to keep facts straight, this is not funny,” he said. “It is irresponsible and blatantly false.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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