Nfld. & Labrador

Wabush mayor worried about intraprovincial travel as COVID-19 cases rise

Ron Barron says people travelling from Newfoundland to Labrador should have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Ron Barron says people travelling from Newfoundland to Labrador should have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Wabush Mayor Ron Barron says travellers who come to Labrador from Newfoundland should have to self-quarantine for 14 days. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the province, one mayor in Labrador is worried about intraprovincial travel.

Right now, any travellers coming in from outside the province must self-isolate for two weeks, but Wabush Mayor Ron Barron is asking the government to require the same of people travelling from Newfoundland to Labrador.

Wabush was preparing to declare a state of emergency to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 but municipalities are allowed to declare state of emergencies only during a disaster, snowstorm, flood or water shortage. Barron says something needs to be done.

"All we're asking for is more steps to be taken now to protect our communities, and that should be happening throughout the province and Canada as a whole," he told CBC's Labrador Morning on Tuesday.

"All we're trying to do is make sure we don't get any here in Labrador West. I don't think that's too much to ask."

Liberal MHA Perry Trimper says although things are getting more restrictive, goods and services, along with people who need to travel, have to keep moving. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

With only five cases in the Labrador-Grenfell region so far, Barron says it's better to be safe than sorry.

"If you look at all the cases it's because someone travelled, and we have to make sure we stop that," the mayor said.

MHAs weigh in

So far there's no restriction on travel within the province. Liberal MHA Perry Trimper says travel should be allowed to flow from the island to Labrador.

"People need to still travel back and forth for medical appointments. We have students who are returning coming through Happy Valley-Goose Bay going up to Nunatsiavut," Trimper said.

"So we still need to keep that flow of folks who need to travel as well as our own goods and services. Nevertheless, things are getting more restrictive."

NDP MHA Jordan Brown says he understands why people are worried.

"The concerns of people coming in and out are great because we have a large portion of our population that are still working. In the mining industry keeping social distancing can be a challenge in that environment," Brown said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Labrador Morning