State of emergency in St. John's, N.L. will be lifted Saturday morning: officials
TORONTO -- The state of emergency in St. John’s, N.L., will be lifted Saturday morning, officials say. Crews have been working around the clock to clear the roads from last week’s record-breaking blizzard that dumped more than 76 centimeters of snow.
As the city enters the sixth day of the state of emergency, St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen is urging people to stay off the roads, if possible.
“The streets are not at the safety level we need them to be at in order to take off the state of emergency,” Breen told reporters in a press conference Wednesday. “We have to make sure our streets are safe for drivers and pedestrians.”
People who live in St. John’s but work in other municipalities are now permitted to travel, said Breen. Medical practitioners and veterinarian are allowed to open their offices as of Thursday morning.
Commercial flights have resumed in and out of St. John’s International Airport. Taxis are allowed to operate, too.
The city has given the green light to pharmacies and grocery stores to open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Operations in the city are slowly resuming, but Breen still urges that people stay off the roads if they don’t need to be out.
“We want you to be careful. My main message is please stay home if you don’t need to go out,” he said.
Deputy City Manager LynnAnn Winsor says the greatest difficulty for crews has been clearing the snow.
“The city has received 250 cm of snow since Christmas Eve and that makes it very challenging to remove the snow,” she said.
Hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces have been assisting with snow removal and providing transportation for residents to warming or emergency centers. Troops have been helping emergency service personnel navigate treacherous road conditions and ensuring the elderly are cared for.
The province has been helpful too, “they’ve been sending us whatever they can,” said Breen.
Breen said one of his commitments after things get back to normal in the city is to “begin working on modernizing the state of emergency.”
“The nature of the city has changed so much,” he said. “The things we have now that we have to deal with are far different than the things we dealt with 35 years ago.”
City officials say they will provide another update on Friday.