Don’t visit, Kettle and Stony Point chief says

Kettle and Stony Point First Nation’s chief is asking cottagers and others to stay away from the Lambton Shores-area community and stay home.

The message to abide by government physical distancing advice in Canada, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, comes as anxiety is growing in the community and after cottagers have been showing up and holding parties, said Chief Jason Henry.

“We don’t have the medical facilities, the food stores to support you in our community. Please stay where you are presently,” he said.

“The premier and the prime minister have asked people to stay at home and self-isolate, and essential travel only. That doesn’t mean go to your cottage and have a weekend party.

There have been complaints from year-round residents and First Nations citizens about parties being held, he said.

A community health centre on the first nation is currently closed, he said, and there are no other health-care services open in the immediate area.

The lakeside community’s economy regularly relies on cottagers and campers, he said.

“But what we really need to do is for people to stay at their primary residence, stay close to your primary health-care provider, and stay where you have the supports necessary,” he said.

“We’re already overburdened as it is with the situation. We cannot help you if you come here.”

The first nation is also considering reducing entry points and screening people as they arrive, he said, meaning they’d be asked questions about their health and travel history, and encouraged to go home.

No decision has been made to do that yet, he said, noting other first nations have closed their borders.

“People are concerned and there’s constant traffic along our lake road right now,” Henry said. “Our citizens are really concerned that people are actually setting up here … flocking here and trying to reside and ride this pandemic out.”

tkula@postmedia.com

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