Atikameksheng Anishnawbek council to close access road to the community
Chief Valerie Richer says community members were ‘urging’ council to take action
The chief of a First Nation community in northern Ontario says band council has voted to limit access to the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Chief Valerie Richer says council members held a virtual meeting Monday night to discuss the issue. She says a decision was made to close the entrance to the community to stop people from coming in.
"We are going to allow in residents and people who work here," she said. "But we're stopping outside access to the community."
She says the decision was made after people kept coming into the community looking for open stores. She adds a large sign was put up at the entrance of the community announcing all the stores are closed but that didn't slow additional traffic from coming in.
As for limiting access to the community, Richer says the details are still being sorted out.
"We're going to have people there with signs trying to redirect the traffic to not enter the community," she said.
She adds crews will work in shifts from early morning to evening to check vehicles.
"We'll have a couple of shifts with two people there and make sure that they take all health and safety precautions when they're redirecting traffic."
Richer says so far, there's been wide-spread support for this in the community.
"We're just notifying people now," she said. "All the responses I've had before this decision was made was urging us to make this move. So I'm thinking the community will be very supportive of this."