Coronavirus: Gravelbourg, Sask. declares local state of emergency, closes businesses

La Cathédrale in Gravelbourg, Sask. Tintaggon / Wikimedia Commons

On Saturday, the rural community of Gravelbourg, Sask. joined the urban centre of Regina by declaring a local state of emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The public is advised that, for the duration of the emergency, the local authority may take any action it deems necessary to deal with the situation,” said the city in a statement to its residents.

Effective March 21, Gravelbourg businesses have been ordered to close for 14 days. Businesses can still operate through phone orders or by dropping items off. A customer who is picking up items will have to stay in their car while a staff member loads their vehicle, says the town.

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Gas stations will remain open, and the Gravelbourg Co-op will implement a specific plan regarding their operations.

Additionally, the town is asking that no more than five staff members congregate in any one building.

Residents are also being asked to stay within the community, and curtail travel in and out of Gravelbourg “unless absolutely essential.”

The town is also asking all residents to report anyone who isn’t self-isolating upon return from international travel.

Furthermore, parents are asked to isolate their children from “all social gatherings.”

“These measures do not restrict you from walking around town, keeping a distance from others,” said the town in a statement.

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The declaration came following a meeting of the Gravelbourg Emergency Measures Organization. The town said they met with community stakeholders like doctors, fire and police prior to the order.

Gravelbourg city council ratified its local state of emergency on Sunday. Global News has reached out to the Town of Gravelbourg for comment.

Some elements of Gravelbourg’s order are different than the Government of Saskatchewan’s, which takes precedent over any municipal orders like Regina’s.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Health minister sends a stern message to everyone not following public health advice'
Coronavirus outbreak: Health minister sends a stern message to everyone not following public health advice

On Saturday, the province’s chief health medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said municipal orders, like Regina’s, are good advice to follow.

He said all people need to be practicing social distancing at this time to prevent a burden on the healthcare system.

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Shahab is encouraging people to limit their time in public. If it’s necessary to go out, even for groceries or gas, he is pleading with people to keep their distance.

“This is the new normal in Saskatchewan,” Shahab said. “Keep two metres apart, social distance, don’t touch your mouth or nose and wash your hands.”

Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend social distancing, frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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