Concerns people aren't taking COVID-19 seriously in the Battlefords

"We're going to be full-blown 5,000 cases in North Battleford in two weeks."

COVID-19 restrictions may be in effect around the world and in Saskatchewan, but a number of local people are expressing concerns that Battlefords residents aren’t taking the virus seriously enough.

The News-Optimist has fielded a number of calls from concerned residents over the last few days. The concern expressed is that their fellow residents in and around the Battlefords are showing a lack of concern, and that it will lead to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Battlefords.

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One individual who works at a local store phoned to express concerns that her co-workers were not doing the extra cleaning and sanitizing that they were supposed to do.

She also expressed concerns that customers weren’t taking it seriously, especially young people who were out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said they would high-five one another inside the store, not doing any “social-distancing”, and were treating their time off of school as a “vacation.”

“We’re going to be full-blown 5,000 cases in North Battleford in two weeks,” she said.

Another local businessman, who had shut down his businesses and sent workers home in response to the pandemic, also expressed concerns about what he is seeing.

He noted the liquor stores were still full, despite calls for people to stay at home for two weeks. “What are you doing going out to the liquor board?” he said of the public reaction. “You don’t have to be out right now.”

It was his belief that government needed to step up and bring in much tougher measures to crack down on the number of people still going out and about.

“The federal government needs to override everybody and tell everybody we’re on lockdown,” he said. He also said that not taking these measures will cost business in the long run.  

“Every day we waste not shutting our doors is going to cost us four in the end,” he said.

The News-Optimist has also fielded phone calls and text messages about the recent Red Pheasant band election, which proceeded Friday while the province was under the state of emergency. The band leadership as well as the chief electoral officer came under criticism for going ahead with the vote, according to the calls and messages we received at the newsroom.

“They’re not listening to what’s going on in the news,” said one band member, who expressed concerns about the numbers of people who would be gathered for the vote.

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