by Phil Ambroziak
The City of Meadow Lake is taking whatever precautions it can to keep people safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this week, the city issued a press release in response to recent recommendations from the Province of Saskatchewan to limit public gatherings in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“The City will be closing public access to all municipally owned buildings effective Tuesday, March 17 at 6 p.m.,” the press release states.
These facilities include the Meadow Lake Aquatic Centre, the Meadow Lake and District Arena, the Meadow Lake Civic Centre, the Westview Playground change room, the Meadow Lake and District Museum, the Lions’ Den meeting room and city hall. The Meadow Lake Library is also closed.
“These closures will remain in effect until recommendations from health officials change,” the press release continues. “City staff will still continue to report for duty as normal, and all services other than recreation services will be continued. At this time, council meetings will also still be scheduled as normal. The city, including city councillors, can still be reached through all phone and email channels.”
According to mayor Merlin Seymour, the decision to close these facilities was done so as a means of reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 and to protect the local community.
“I met with administration and department managers Monday to discuss (the situation),” Seymour told Northern Pride. “We felt this would be in the best interest of our residents and for the safety of our community.”
The COVID-19 scare has also resulted in the RM of Meadow Lake temporarily closing its doors.
“We are closed to the public,” noted RM chief administrative officer Gina Bernier. “Doors are locked. Our crew is at the shop, but it is also closed to the public.”
The Flying Dust First Nation band office staff remains at work, but membership is being asked to limit public access. Public access is also restricted at the constituency offices of Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison and Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Gary Vidal.
“On Friday (March 13), Parliament suspended due to concerns over COVID-19,” Vidal noted. “Going forward, I will be cutting down on public events and doing as much business over the phone as possible. I want to ensure I will not be a potential carrier of the virus or put my constituents at risk via my travels across the riding.”
Vidal went on to say his staff in Ottawa and in the constituency office in Meadow Lake will still be available to assist constituents and communicate with the media.
“To promote everyone’s health and safety, all constituency work will be done over the phone, or by email,” he reiterated. “I urge everyone to follow the precautions recommended by Health Canada to stay healthy and safe.”
In the meantime, the public is encouraged to visit the Government of Saskatchewan website at www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19. Anyone showing symptoms of the virus, including fever, cough or difficulty breathing, is urged to call the provincial HealthLine at 811 and limit exposure to other people. Additional information is available from Health Canada at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html.