Hay River Mayor Kandis Jameson believes that most people in Hay River have heeded the call to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, particularly by staying home unless absolutely necessary.
“I believe our community overall is listening and doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” she said on March 26. “Of course, you’re always going to have those that think it’s not a big deal — ‘people are overreacting’ — that kind of deal. But hopefully we can get more information out to the public on why this is so important at this time to be doing this.”
Jameson said that “absolutely” most people are following advice to stay at home, and it can be seen in the community.
“When you’re out and about, things have slowed down, definitely,” she said.
The mayor said everyone’s priority needs to be health, compassion and caring for each other, not the economy.
“That’s our message right now,” she said. “We really, really are pushing that people need to do self-isolation. You need to understand how important this is for this community, for the NWT and our health-care system.”
In particular, she is pleased by the response to her call for nonessential businesses to close.
“Most businesses have closed and people are choosing to do the right thing for your family, for your community, for your country,” she said.
Jameson noted that the Town of Hay River itself is ready for COVID-19.
“I think council and administration, we’ve been ahead of the game and hopefully still are,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of preparation for this knowing that it was coming.”
Jameson noted the town has had meetings with many people and organizations – the NWT Association of Communities, Premier Caroline Cochrane, territorial ministers, representatives of the community’s health-care system, the RCMP and others.
“Hay River is prepared, of that I have every, every, every faith that we have done everything we can to try and mitigate the situation,” she said. “Our administration has really done some great work and they still are.”
The municipality is satisfied with the food supply in the community, she added.
The Town of Hay River has planned for and is continuing to provide essential services, said Jameson.
“We weren’t going to be that community that looked back and wished we’d started this two weeks earlier. I think we’re in a good place as a community and I hope people just hunker down, do what we’ve got to do now, and it will save us in the long run. We know that.”
And as for families who are now at home, Jameson suggested they might consider getting back to basics to pass the time with their children.
“I think the world has slowed down and we’re going back to basics,” she said. “And we need to use our imaginations as adults to keep these kids occupied. It’s a great, great time to connect to family. Let’s focus on the good, and we can work through the bad together. And I honestly think it’s a huge opportunity to reconnect with your kids and reconnect with each other.”