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Alberton declares state of emergency

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Alberton has become the latest community to declare a state of emergency to the province.

The move was made in an effort to offset hardships brought by an extended and expanded closure of non-essential businesses, announced on Friday.

“This has changed retail operations in our Township. Some businesses are forced to suspend operations, while others have to adopt alternative delivery models. Also affected are businesses outside of the Township. Our residents rely on these stores to get items for essentials for day to day living," said Reeve Mike Ford. "The Township has modified the manner in which it serves our residents. Original changes to operations were enacted as a temporary measure. Recent forecasting of a prolonged event indicates that the Township will be continuing modified operation for the foreseeable future.”

That could lead to profound and long-term implications, he noted.

“The impact of changes to businesses in our Township is vastly unknown. If a business can not survive those impacts there may be a loss of municipal tax base," he said. "The Township has modified the manner in which it serves our residents. Original changes to operations were enacted as a temporary measure. Recent forecasting of a prolonged event indicates that the Township will be continuing modified operation for the foreseeable future.”

In addition to business closures, modifications such and modified delivery methods and electronic payment options could put local commerce out of reach for some residents.

“Not all residents have internet access or a method of electronic payment,” said Ford.

But first and foremost, the Township is concerned for the health of its residents, and is concerned by the spread of COVID-19.

“The Northwestern Health Unit, as well as the Thunder Bay District Health have both indicated that there is community spread occurring in North Western Ontario. Due to the significant delays in the testing process the extent is vastly unknown," said Ford. "This this stresses the importance of continued social distancing. Stay home unless you absolutely need to go out.”

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