Lloydminster’s emergency management team have a plan for the COVID-19 pandemic and are working their way through it. Emergency Management Operations Manager Jordan Newton says their emergency management and pandemic plans are based on the SARS outbreak.

“We’re using that as our basis in planning working through this pandemic. It is serving us as a good base point to help us through some of the problems that we’re facing.”

As of March 16, the city has postponed or cancelled several city-run events through the month and has closed access to recreational and cultural facilities. However, some city buildings such as City Hall, the RCMP detachment and the operations centre continue to run with some precautions in place.

“We are doing this based on the guidelines given to us by provincial health authorities. What you’ll see is a reduction of touch points, a lot of sanitization stations and environmental designs to limit close contact between people.”

Newton says precautions are also in place at the Lloydminster Airport and they are working with Transport Canada to implement any guidelines as the situation changes.

“We are maintaining a safe building out on the airport and Transport Canada is making sure that all flights are handled safely.”

Mayor Gerald Aalbers admits it’s an inconvenience to some residents but it will benefit the community in the long run in trying to get through the pandemic as safely as possible.

When it comes to “panic buying” in the city, Aalbers hopes residents will return to their usual buying habits and to think of others during this time.

“Check with your neighbours if you are going to the store and save them the trip. There is no shortage of supplies in the stores in most cases as long as people take what they need for their basic needs.”

Newton encourages residents to visit the City of Lloydminster website for updates as the situation changes.

“Whether that is information from our public health authorities that we are echoing or what the city is doing in response, information is going to be updated there constantly.”

As of March 16, two cases of COVID-19 have been found in the central region.