TORONTO -- People living in parts of Nova Scotia battered by Dorian are being told to stay away from fast-food restaurants because traffic jams around drive-thrus are hampering the emergency response.
"People need to stay off the roads today. Let us get out there and do our jobs," Erica Fleck, an assistant chief with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, said Sunday morning at a press conference.
"We can't clear (the roads) until we can actually get to the roads, and 300 cars at a drive-thru right now is really stopping our progress."
Post-tropical cyclone Dorian battered Nova Scotia for most of Saturday and into Sunday at hurricane force. It caused significant damage, although no serious injuries or deaths were repored.
Fleck said Sunday's damage assessment efforts were being made more difficult by people whose first thought post-Dorian was apparently to caffeinate themselves.
"All the people that are lined up right now on the roads waiting for coffee … they are actually impeding our crews from getting out there," she said.
Premier Stephen McNeil echoed Fleck’s statements in an afternoon press conference Sunday.
“There’ll be plenty of time for you to come down and get your coffee. You don’t have to do that today. It’s important to allow the level of professionals we have in this province go out and do their work,” he said.
“I would encourage all Nova Scotians—this is the day to stay home.”
Images posted to social media Sunday morning showed long lines of cars outside various Tim Hortons locations in Halifax. The lines extended off the restaurant's property and onto the closest street – and kept going from there.
Tony Mancini, the deputy mayor of Halifax, had a similar message for potentially stir-crazy Haligonians looking to get outside and tour their disaster-hit communities.
"I know that you're eager to go out and take a look at the aftermath of this hurricane, but it's important that you stay off the road so our crews can do this work," he said.
Other officials also urged Nova Scotians in Dorian-hit areas to stay home and stay out of the way of cleanup crews.
"We are still seeing people out there taking unnecessary risks," Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella said at the press conference.
"Unless there is an emergency, please stay off our roads and please stay out of our parks."