Alert Bay declares state of emergency, installs curfew amid COVID-19

Alert Bay declares state of emergency, installs curfew amid COVID-19
WatchAlbert Bay mayor, Dennis Buchanan, cites concerns for the community's elderly as one reason for the local state of emergency. 

The Village of Alert Bay has declared a local state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The small community located on Cormorant Island, approximately 10 kilometres off the coast of Port McNeil, has announced that additional measures need to be taken as the virus has reached its shores.

With a possible outbreak threatening the population of under 1,500 people, the village has said they are working with the Namgis First Nation to contain it.

“We still had people here who were travelling around,” said Alert Bay mayor Dennis Buchanan. “They weren’t obeying the stay at home recommendations from public health and people were leaving the island here going down island shopping.”

In the declaration document, signed by Mayor Dennis Buchanan, it suggests the pandemic “poses an existing or imminent threat to the people or property within the entire jurisdiction.”

Last week, Mayor Buchanan came forward saying he had tested positive for the disease, while trying to warn residents of the community to stay home in a video posted to Facebook.

“We have been telling people, do not travel, stay home. Well, folks, it is here,” Buchanan said in the video.“I thought well people might as well know that it’s here because people are still travelling back and forth,” he said. “People here are still holding house parties. They just don’t seem to get it that people need to stay home to stop the spread of this virus.”

The Mayor took things one step further by signing the declaration of a local state of emergency on Saturday, April 18th.

The declaration is slated to last seven days and will allow for Alert Bay officials, under the direction of their medical health officer, to enforce travel restrictions among other things.

According to a press release from the Village, they are also working on creating spaces for infected people to isolate safely as well as installing a community curfew.

The curfew is set between 9:30 pm and 6:00 am daily with an alarm going off every night at 9:00 pm in order to give people time to get themselves home.

“I am very worried. We have a large contingent of elderly people here on the island and the majority of them have underlying health issues which cause me great concern,” added Buchanan.

In the signed declaration a statement says that the employees of the Village can “do all acts and implement all procedures that are considered necessary to prevent or to alleviate the effects of the emergency.”

The document also outlines that the state of emergency can be cancelled by the Village of Alert Bay governing body at any time.







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