Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given hopes residents in the city will remain both calm and vigilant as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. Given says Grande Prairie is one of the most resilient communities out there, and he knows people will support one another.
“Everyone needs to acknowledge the fact that this is a situation with lots of uncertainty and it is no surprise if it creates anxiety among any one of us.”
“Once we’ve acknowledged that, take a deep breath and reach out to your friends and family, just to make sure they’re doing okay first off in their mental health,” he adds, giving the example of “a text, an email message to say ‘hey, how are you doing, I’m here [for you].”
When it comes to “panic buying” seen in Grande Prairie and across Canada, Given says there is no indication that transportation disruptions are something the city will be dealing with. He believes store shelves will continue to be refilled, adding that those stocking up could be doing more harm than good.
“I would recommend that people buy what they need and that they don’t overdo it. There are many people in the community who cannot afford to go and stock up on a huge amount of supply, and we need to ensure that there are things on the shelves who may be living paycheque to paycheque, or who may have been living paycheque to paycheque [before] this emergency.”
As of March 16th, the Alberta Health Services’ North Zone, which includes the entire Grande Prairie region, has one confirmed case of COVID-19.