St. John's residents restock food, medicine after massive blizzard
TORONTO -- Some pharmacies and grocery stores reopened Tuesday, as St. John’s, N.L., residents worried about accessing medication and replenishing food supplies after a massive blizzard.
The city urged people to stock enough food for 48 hours. By the time doors opened at 10 a.m. at one Sobeys, the lineup stretched around the parking lot and onto the road. Inside, some residents were co-ordinating to ensure neighbours who couldn’t get out to the store would have essentials too.
“We’re just combining forces to help out people on our street," Margaret Connors told The Canadian Press. “I think everybody was surprised at all of this, but I think people are pulling together," she said.
NTV spoke to several shoppers outside a Coleman’s grocery store, many of whom were focused on picking up the essential groceries after spending days with limited fresh food.
“When you run out of milk and you run out of bread and you run out of eggs, things like that, you need to get those things in order to feed your kids,” said one shopper.
The store limited customers to just two loaves of bread each, as fears of a food shortage grow in the region.
Greg Gill, the vice president of marketing at Colemans, told NTV that staff are doing the best they can to get the food onto store shelves, but considering Newfoundland is an island and ferry shipments have been halted for the time being, there’s only so much they can do.
“High-demand items and those with a shorter shelf life are a bit of a concern,” he said.
On CTV’s Your Morning, St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen said the city is encouraging people to walk, but some taxi services are offering free rides to help seniors and people with disabilities in particular. Taxi services are scheduled to resume operation at midnight, while schools in metro St. John’s will also be closed for the rest of the week.
The Friday blizzard dumped 76 centimetres of snow in the area. Tuesday marked the fifth day of the state of emergency.
“We want everyone to slow down, take it easy, be very mindful of what’s happening,” he said.
Travel continued to be an issue across eastern Newfoundland Tuesday as the St. John’s International Airport said it would resume commercial flights on Wednesday morning.
At street level, snow removal has proven difficult for residents. On Monday, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Navy members were deployed to help. Ottawa said more than 400 troops would be in Newfoundland on Tuesday.
“I know that my group is committed and we’re here until our leadership and the province sees no need for us here,” Master Cpl. Andrew Cox told NTV.
Breen is urging residents to get their cars off the road in order to speed up the snow clearing process, but does not have a timeline for when it will be finished.
“The parking bans are in place to have unfettered access to the roads so we can get this cleaned up as quickly as possible,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
The Friday storm was compounded by earlier snowfalls, he added. The city had seen 170 centimetres of snow already, some of which hadn’t even cleared before Friday’s blizzard.
“We never really caught up on our removals,” he said. “We’re only a month into our winter season here. We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Breen added that city staff has “learned a lot in the last couple of days” when it comes to how states of emergency are handled in the city.
“We have some work to do,” he said. “When we get this cleaned up and we sit back and look at what happened, I think we need to do a very thorough review.”
With files from The Canadian Press and NTV