Norman Wells launches evening patrols during COVID-19 outbreak to help enforce public health orders

·2 min read
A sign for the Town of Norman Wells, N.W.T., town office in October 2018. The town says nightly patrols are one of the things they can do in their purview during the COVID-19 Sahtu outbreak.  (Katie Toth/CBC - image credit)
A sign for the Town of Norman Wells, N.W.T., town office in October 2018. The town says nightly patrols are one of the things they can do in their purview during the COVID-19 Sahtu outbreak. (Katie Toth/CBC - image credit)

The town of Norman Wells, N.W.T., is introducing nightly patrols to identify people violating public health orders.

An assortment of vehicles from different town departments, such as the fire department and by-law enforcement, will be patrolling the town and riverbank until 3 a.m. this weekend, and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays until further notice.

Cathy Clarke, the town's SAO, told town council Friday it's one thing the town can do within their purview to try to control the situation.

"It's important to iterate ... they do not have the authority to enforce anything," Clarke said Friday. "Only COVID officers have the authority to enforce."

"When they see an issue arise, they will contact ENR and or the RCMP as required."

The territory placed the town under a containment order earlier this week after they reported a spike in cases related to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the Sahtu region.

That means no gatherings, closures for non-essential businesses, and mandatory mask-wearing until further notice.

As of Thursday morning, Norman Wells had 41 active COVID-19 cases — the third-highest in the territory.

A town notice from Aug. 26 says that one of the reasons the community is under containment under is due to "obvious ... disregard of isolation orders," by those who test positive.

Town officials also identified several public areas as high risk: Rampart Rentals, the Northern Store, and the Liquor Store.

They've set up volunteers and staff who will restrict the number of people inside these places at any given time and remind people of the public health restrictions.

Town council also voted unanimously to extend their local state of emergency until Sept. 3. They first declared a state of emergency on Aug. 18.

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