Social gatherings are banned, funerals are forbidden and home visitors are out of the question.

At a time when strict physical distancing orders are being enforced, what happens when furnaces burn out and fridges need fixing?

Having appliances repaired by technicians is permissible during the pandemic, but there are recommendations from health officials advising how to approach it.
teepetersen/Wikimedia Commons photo

It’s a question some uncertain residents are surely asking amid unprecedented health safety measures.

During Covid-19, at-home appliance servicing can proceed in the NWT, says the territorial government.

“Appliance repair companies are absolutely allowed to continue doing business — just like any business can which is not specifically named in the (orders), and can comply with our guidelines on disinfection and social distancing,” spokesperson Mike Westwick said.

If residents are in need of appliance servicing, NWT chief public health officer Kami Kandola recommends that occupants limit their time in the home while repairs are being done to reduce health risks, said Westwick.

Once maintenance is complete and the worker has left the residence, Kandola urges Northerners to disinfect their homes, stressing the need to wipe down “high-touch” surfaces.

City businesses are taking similar precautions.

“We’re just being diligent; making sure we do some checking before they go in to see who is in the home, if anyone is affected; if there’s self-isolation and all that,” said Patrick McGlone, store manager at Arctic Appliance Service and Sales.

While McGlone said the company hasn’t received any specific directives from Kandola, employees are taking extra precautions when entering homes to service appliances, such as wearing face masks and gloves.

Lloyd Chatron, owner and operator of Northern Lights Appliance Service, said he’s been asking customers detailed questions about their travel history and health before he goes ahead with a job.

Chatron, who runs the small business by himself, prefers clients leave their homes when appliance servicing is being carried out.

Like other servicing companies, Chatron said he’s facing a steep drop in business amid Covid-19.

“It’s dead right now. I’m barely getting any calls,” said Chatron, who’s responding to about one resident a week compared to the usual 10 to 15 calls.

He thinks penny-pinching during uncertain economic times, coupled with fears about the potential spread of the virus, is causing the sharp downturn in business.

Chatron said he doesn’t qualify for most government-provided relief.

“I’m just riding it out,” he said. 

Following this week’s extension of the territory’s health emergency declaration, current orders will last until at least May 12. 

Brendan Burke

As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility...

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