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Isolating truckers trying to enter Big River Service Centre

Ice-road truckers who are supposed to be isolating have been trying to enter the Big River Service Centre.

The gas station and restaurant is one of the few service stations on Highway 1 to Alberta, and is a frequent rest stop for transport trucks coming from the south — or at least it was before the pandemic.

But owner Chris Mitchell said he is having problems with truckers still trying to enter the building, even if they are meant to be isolating.

“Anyone that we suspect is questioned,” said Mitchell. “All employees of Big River have authority to question and refuse service to any guest when they are trying to protect themselves and other customers.”

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“They may also be reported to the authorities or their company’s safety office,” he added. “We have their contact information.”

If someone is moving up to Yellowknife or one of the hub communities, Mitchell said they try and accommodate them by doing curbside pickup for food. But ice-road truckers from the south are meant to isolate in the cabs of their trucks, he said, and shouldn’t be coming into contact with the store.

“They can fill up at the outside, never come in the building with the credit card or debit card at the pump feature — they can get some fuel and carry on,” said Mitchell. “If they’re starving to death, which I find hard to believe, then they contact us and then we can bring it out to them.”

“We’re not here to punish anybody,” he added. “We’re just here to facilitate services and remain compatible with the orders from the health authorities.”

The GNWT did not respond to requests for comment.

“We don’t we don’t need to bring COVID up here. I mean, we’re almost through this guy’s just a few more months,” said Mitchell. “Just follow the rules and we can keep things under control and keep everybody healthy.”

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