Mayor Kandis Jameson is calling on all non-essential businesses in Hay River to close in light of coronanvirus/COVID-19.
“Non-essential businesses are being asked to strongly consider suspending their operations, close their doors to the public and send their employees home,” she said in a March 20 statement. “Recognize that these closures are to reduce the risks of infection, help ensure lives are protected, and reduce the total time it will take to get through this crisis.”
The mayor said economic sacrifices will need to be temporarily made to
protect the long-term health of residents.
Jameson also requested that residents basically stay at home.
“Restrict your leave to purchasing essential goods and services and finding safe, isolated recreation to support physical and mental health,” she said. “Visiting of friends and family is not encouraged unless to provide needed support services.”
The mayor also said those who have returned from outside of the NWT within the last 14 days must self-isolate for a 14-day period.
“Do not leave your home unless advised so by health official to seek medical attention,” she wrote. “Conduct yourself like you are infected so to not transmit to others, ensuring recommended self-hygiene and sanitation practices are in place. Seek others’ support to help deliver essential goods such as food and medicines.”
Speaking to The Hub earlier on March 20, Jameson said safety is number one in this time of fear over the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“To me, we’ll figure out the economics and the fallout after the fact,” she said. “But right now we need to save lives by self-isolating and staying home if you can, and if you can’t then you need to practise social distancing, which is washing your hands and making sure you’re six feet apart.”
The more that people can take themselves out of the equation, the fewer people are going to get sick, she said. “That is the message. That is if you have the ability to get yourself out of this equation, if you’re not essential, if you don’t have to be out, you should be staying home.”
Many businesses in Hay River have already closed, and Jameson said she is proud of the community for how it has responded to the pandemic.