Together with communities around the globe, the Town of Canora is taking the necessary steps to protect community members against COVID-19.
Brandi Zavislak, community development officer and emergency management officer, said that as of March 17, the Town of Canora office remains fully operational but is closed to the public. “Please know there are a number of options to pay bills such as; over the phone, the drop deposit box, credit card or online,” said Zavislak. “The town office staff is more than happy to help with any questions or concerns during this time. Closing to the public eliminates the risk of contracting this virus or passing it on. The biggest key factor is eliminating risk, this is all in part of our Pandemic Plan.
“We have a plan in place for this type of state of emergency. We take this information very seriously. So far the town of Canora is also giving its knowledge resources and sharing the pandemic plan with various other communities who don’t have a pandemic plan set in place.
“We here at the town of Canora have set the standard to a low risk environment. Businesses who are choosing to remain open to the public are placing themselves in a high risk situation. We ask all businesses to take all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of everyone in our community. We want to look back on this situation and know we took all precautions necessary and were diligent in public safety.
“We are not at a mandatory shut down of non-essential businesses as of yet. Most businesses have taken the proper precautions and have closed to the public. Things can change in a matter of a day or two, and the Town of Canora will be updating the community day-to-day on any major changes that arise.”
In addition to the town office; RM offices, Canora Public Works Department Shop, Canora Junior Elementary School, Canora Composite School, Parkland College and all Canora recreational facilities have also closed their doors.
“We’re hoping to get as many public offices as possible to close their doors to the public, thereby eliminating all traffic coming in to maintain safety standards,” said Zavislak.
She reminded residents that the Town of Canora reports to the Saskatchewan provincial government and to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and follows their direction regarding the COVID-19 situation.
“The risks to the public in general are very low, but we want to take all necessary steps to keep it that way.”
Zavislak encourages residents to do their shopping in Canora during this time to further minimize risk.
“Everything you need is right here,” she said. “There is no need to go out of town to find what you need. In fact, there might be more of a risk of exposure to COVID-19 if you travel out of town and do your shopping in other communities.”
Zavislak said contrary to some of the rumors going around, the shelves are not bare at local stores.
“Gateway Co-op is not running out of food,” she emphasized. “In fact, starting immediately, on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. the store will be open strictly for seniors and those who are mobility impaired. It’s important that all members of our community are looked after during this time.”
She encourages everyone to use common sense to minimize their risk of exposure, including:
- don’t gather in large groups
- wash hands frequently
- avoid touching eyes, nose, hands and mouth
- when sneezing, a person’s mouth and nose should be covered with a bent elbow or a tissue. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately
- practise social distancing, staying at least two arms lengths away from other individuals when possible
- ensure that work areas are cleaned regularly with proper disinfectants, paying special attention to cleaning tables, door knobs, keyboard trays, hand surfaces, railings, etc.
- anyone feeling unwell should stay home. Those with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention as soon as possible and call in advance.
Mayor Jim Vewchar passed along a message on behalf of the Town of Canora.
“I want to take this time to assure the residents of Canora that we are taking every precaution to ensure the wellbeing of all citizens.
“We have closed all town facilities to the public in order to discourage social interaction, to slow the spread of this COVID-19 virus. I want to inform all residents that we have a pandemic plan and are prepared to enact it if it should become necessary. We at the town office will act in accordance with outlines set forth by our health professionals.
“We encourage our residents to use common sense in dealing with this situation, as we are all in uncharted waters and faced with many questions and uncertainties. But if we all take the advice of our health authorities and do whatever we can to prevent the spread of the virus, we will all get through this.
“So please do not panic, be cautious, avoid unnecessary interaction with others, wash your hands often and stay home if you are not feeling well.
“I am proud to announce that all essential services will remain in place and that many businesses in town are offering either delivery or pickup services to all residents.
“We are a full-service community and encourage everyone to support our local businesses in this trying time. If you have a need, call the businesses and give them all the support you can by:
- calling or reaching out to local business owners to find alternate ways to support them while avoiding unnecessary social interactions
- many transactions can be done online, phone or delivery
- many local restaurants are offering delivery/pickup options
- The Canora Co-op offers delivery service of groceries and supplies to those in need
- The Canora Pharmacy will deliver prescriptions and medications to those who are isolated or in quarantine.
“In closing, the Town of Canora wants everyone to be safe and use common sense. We are here for you, to provide you with the necessary direction to get through this.”
Those looking for more information are encouraged to call the town office at 306-563-5773, or call Zavislak directly at 306-562-8002. Information is also available at the Canora Saskatchewan Facebook page.