It’s a move they hope other communities in the province will emulate but on Saturday the Town of Gravelbourg declared a local state of emergency in response to the Covid - 19 pandemic.
Speaking during a Sunday evening on-line broadcast Gravelbourg's Mayor Robert Bowler said the town did not take the action lightly but it was done in an attempt to save lives.
“Remember the best way to protect yourself and your fellow community members is to stay at home,” Mayor Bowler said. “By working together we will get through this. ..as your mayor I cannot stress the seriousness of the situation please stay at home.”
As part of the measures enacted under their local State of Emergency Gravelbourg has taken strong measures which include closing most local businesses to customer access.
It is unknown if the measures enacted by Gravelbourg were approved by the Province. The Province has said all measures taken must be in compliance with provincial orders as they take precedence. The Gravelbourg orders are tougher than the present provincial orders which allow certain businesses open with physical access to the public whereas Gravelbourg has closed public physical access to theirs.
The following are the stringent conditions:
- All businesses are closed to the public for fourteen (14) days.
- a. Business can operate through phone orders and use a drop off method or have the customer stay in their vehicle and staff will load.
- b. No more than five staff members in any one building at any one time.
- c. The Gravelbourg Co-op Grocery store will be implementing a specific plan regarding how their operations will be able to comply with this measure.
- d. Gas stations will be open for gas service only
Gravelbourg’s Council is also encouraging all residents if possible to not travel in and out of the community.
Residents are charged with reporting all residents not self isolating for 14 days upon returning from international travel. All resident reports will be forwarded to the RCMP.
Additionally all parents are responsible in preventing their children from attending social gatherings.
Speaking on the livestream broadcast Dr Intherin Pillay, who is the Covid - 19 coordinator for the southwest area 6 portion of the health region, said although the declaration may seem drastic but given the seriousness of the situation facing the community, the Province and the country as a whole warrant the strong actions.
“I am sure you all have seen the news of the last few weeks. I am sure you are worried and panic stricken with soaring numbers of people with Coronavirus infection. Still we can all work together and we can all keep our community safe,” Dr. Pillay said before saying the measures being undertaken are to save lives.
“The measure is simple stay at home and save lives,” he said. He said that the effort was needed to flatten the curve of the number of people infected to not overstrain local medical services and save lives.
Dr. Pillay was hopeful other comunities would follow Gravelbourg’s example.
“We hope other communities can follow suit and follow our example and declare a local state of emergency,” Dr. Pillay urged.
To save lives he asked residents to use their smart phones and meet virtually and not to congregate. If residents meet they are to remain at least six feet apart from each other.
Dr. Pillay advised residents to wash their hands, do not touch their faces and to practice social distancing.
“We know by the end of his pandemic many of us are going to lose loved ones and it is up us to save lives,” Dr. Pillay said again urging residents to stay home.
“The message is pretty simple stay at home and save lives. The aim of staying at home is to flatten the curve and stop the spread…stay at home, stop the spread and save lives.”
The Town asks anyone seeking further information on the local State of Emergency to contact the Town Office at 1-306-648-3301. The announcements can be found at gravelbourg.ca.
The video statement may be found on Facebook by clicking here.
-- This story was first reported by Robert Thomas of Moose Jaw Independent.