With no grocery stores or pharmacies, residents in a tight-knit Foothills community are looking to neighbours and friends to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Longview Mayor Kathie Wight said some residents in the village are relying on others to get food and pick up prescriptions when they’re not able to. Wight is not aware of any cases of COVID-19 in the village, but many residents are seniors – some with limited mobility and no means of transportation.
Wight said those who are unable to find assistance won’t be left in the dark.
“This week we’re distributing letters to residents with names and numbers of people that they can call if they need help with something or need something picked up,” she said. “I believe it’s already happening, it’s just that it’s not official.”
As cases of COVID-19 grow in Alberta and the government implements stricter rules to prevent the spread of the virus, Wight said most businesses have closed. Others are offering services through pick-up or by appointment only.
The Village closed its community hall and library last week. The post office and village office remain open, with social distancing precautions in place, Wight said.
“The post office is allowing one person at a time in the lobby,” she said.
Wight said the village office is following necessary cleaning protocols and social distancing. Employees are instructed to wash their hands regularly, avoid contact with others and stay home if they’re unwell. The front counter, railings and door handles are cleaned three times daily and hand sanitizer is provided at the front counter.
Residents are encouraged to limit their attendance at the office. Utility bills and taxes can be paid via email to email@example.com, by dropping cheques in the office door mail slot or calling in with a credit card number.
While recreational opportunities are limited, Wight said essential services will continue.
“We still have garbage pickup and our water supply should be fine,” she said. “The County takes care of it and they’ve got all their safety precautions and supplies that they need to continue on with that.”
Wight is concerned that social distancing practices could impact water/sewer repairs slated in the village along Highway 22 in mid-April.
“They’re getting old and they need to be updated and it’s supposed to be done by summer,” she said. “I don’t know if that’s going to be happening or not. Hopefully it doesn’t get held back.”
In the meantime, Wight said she’s glad to hear that citizens in the village are calling neighbours to check in and are getting outside for walks.
“They are practising social distancing, but they’re still getting out and about,” she said. “I would like to tell people to hang in there and that it’s important to practice social distancing and stay home most of the time. Reach out if you need help.”
Anyone requiring assistance with picking up groceries, medicine or the mail, or who have inquiries, can contact the village office at 403-558-3922 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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