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COMMUNITY REPORT: Wrigley sets up barricade to protect against Covid

Wrigley sits at the end of the Mackenzie Highway, 220 kilometres northwest of Fort Simpson. Google Maps image

The community of Wrigley has set up a barricade barring entry to non-members.

"Different vehicles were cruising around at night. They didn't know whose vehicles they were. It’s related to Covid because we don't know who has what. Members were concerned for the Elders. Wrigley doesn't have a nurse or doctor so we have to be cautious," Chief Maurice Moses told NNSL Media on Tuesday. 

The Dehcho region community of about 120 people sits at the north end of the Mackenzie Highway. There is no store there and members must drive 220 kilometres to Fort Simpson for most of their needs and supplies.

"People were phoning me asking why we didn't have a barricade up after others did. We have to be on the safe side," Moses said. 

Moses said the barricade would stay up "until the virus is controlled" and in the meantime the only outsiders who would be permitted to come close would be people delivering mail or food.

"They will be met at the barricade and they’ll hand over the products and switch trucks. We ordered food from Edmonton so we’ll have to meet the delivery guy at the barricade on Wednesday or Thursday."

The chief told NNSL Media last week that community members are wary of their vulnerability to the virus and they would barricade it to protect themselves if a confirmed case came up in Fort Simpson.

Premier Caroline Cochrane has spoken against communities erecting barricades and check stops and said they make the situation more complicated.

“We cannot make decisions based off of fear. We need to make decisions based on best practices,” she said at a press conference last Tuesday.

“Please, don’t put up blockades. Don’t do the check stops. There’s many more things you can be doing in your communities to assist us.

“I’m worried about the potential for violence if people are out there on their own that do not have the authority to be there. A check point at the beginning of your community is not going to prevent COVID-19. The thing that will prevent COVID-19 from taking over your communities will be listening to the chief public health officer and keeping your distance."

The Deninu Kue and K'atl'odeeche First Nations and Tuktoyaktuk are among the other communities to have set up check stops and blockades.