La Loche man worries checkpoints could keep people from helping community
SASKATOON -- A La Loche resident is concerned about checkpoints and whether they’re preventing people from bringing food and other essentials into the community.
“When outsiders are trying to help, they’re preventing it. It doesn’t make sense,” Chester Herman said.
A Buffalo Narrows woman, Shari Janvier, has been trying to organize food hampers but said she’s having trouble getting past the checkpoints in La Loche to drop them off.
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This comes a day after Northern, one of two grocery stores in the village, was forced to temporarily close after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.
“Are they going to be able to handle it? If they're preventing outsiders from helping, is one store going to be enough? My concern is there is going to a shortage of food,” Herman said.
La Loche is at the centre of an outbreak in northern Saskatchewan with 12 new cases announced Friday.
Out of the province’s 203 cases, 148 are in the far north.
The checkpoints, which were mandated by a public health order from the province, restrict people to leaving the community for essential travel only such as important doctors’ appointments or essential work.
La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre said the checkpoints are in place for a reason but said people from outside the community can arrange to drop off essentials.
He said people who want to deliver food or other items can have someone meet them at the checkpoint.
St. Pierre adds that he’s thankful people are trying to help La Loche during this time.
"Any helping hand is always appreciated especially during these times. So any support we can get we absolutely would take."
In Friday’s provincial press conference, Premier Scott Moe said he’s aware that there are some cleaning supply shortages in the north and expects those shortages will only last for a short term.
He said the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency is sending additional cleaning kits to La Loche and are expected to arrive by Friday.