The most notable sign in Enterprise of the COVID-19 pandemic is a checkpoint on Highway 1 to enforce travel restrictions imposed by the GNWT.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Things are quiet as normal in Enterprise as the community faces the threat of COVID-19.

“Quieter, I guess you could say, like everything else in the country is quieter,” said Craig McMaster, the deputy mayor with the Hamlet of Enterprise.

However, one new thing in Enterprise – the first community on Highway 1 north of the NWT/Alberta border – is a checkpoint enforcing travel restrictions imposed by the GNWT as a result of COVID-19.

McMaster noted the checkpoint is right in the community, near the site of the old weigh station building.

The deputy mayor, who is also chair of the Community Emergency Response Committee, was asked how Enterprise feels about the checkpoint, which places the hamlet on the frontline of the NWT’s fight against COVID-19.

“I believe it’s encouraging to have it there,” he said. “We’re familiar with having blockades there in the past for other different reasons. Forest fires come to mind. So we’re used to having blockades there. It’s not unusual. It’s unusual for the virus and all that, different circumstances. I’m comfortable with it there.”

McMaster said the checkpoint doesn’t affect residents of Enterprise.

The deputy mayor said people in Enterprise are “absolutely” following social distancing and staying at home, unless necessary to be outside.

“We’ve got a few families of snowbirds that have come back, of course, this time of year, and they’ve gone right into self-isolation without instructions,” he said.

Plus, he noted all events and activities have been cancelled in Enterprise.

Hamlet council and the Community Emergency Response Committee hold their meetings online.

McMaster noted that the hamlet has prepared hampers – called care bags – for all 50 families in Enterprise, and they were scheduled to be delivered on March 30.

“They’re right full to the top,” he said.

It has not yet been decided if that will be a one-time delivery.

“It depends on how long this lasts,” said McMaster. “We’ll talk it over in council and figure that out. We figure this would be a good first step, anyway, to make sure the residents are comfortable as they can be and that the community is here to support them any way that we can.”

The deputy mayor said there is concern in Enterprise about the food supply like in other communities.

“We’re all in this together, you know,” he said.

Essential services such as garbage pickup and snowplowing are continuing in Enterprise, which has a population of about 110.

When asked how young people in Enterprise are handling fears of COVID-19, McMaster described talking to his four-year-old granddaughter, while maintaining social distancing.

“Just talking to her, she’s kind of confused,” he said. “I think all young people need an explanation, I guess. It depends on what the parents are telling. It’s not our job as a community, certainly.”

The situation is tough on adults and him personally, as well as young people, McMaster added. “They’re feeling this, too, and they need to be supported and helped through this.”

The deputy mayor suggested there needs to be more good news stories in the media because there are positive things happening.

“There’s enough negative in the world,” McMaster said. “And it’s not going to get any better.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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