Saskatchewan halts alcohol sales in northern community to control COVID-19

LA LOCHE, Sask. — The Saskatchewan government says it has agreed to a request from a northern community to suspend alcohol sales in order to help control the spread of COVID-19.

La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre said last week that councillors had requested the province close down the village's liquor store to prevent people from leaving their homes and gathering.

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The province says that after further consultation with community and Indigenous leaders, it notified them that the closure of liquor retailers would proceed.

Effective Sunday, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority retail store and private off-sale in La Loche will be closed for two weeks.

The Dene village, about 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, has more than 136 cases and two elders at the local seniors home have died.

The government says the Ministry of Health and Saskatchewan Health Authority will support La Loche to identify and assist people at risk of harm due to alcohol withdrawal, and will also supply more alcohol addictions program supports.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2020

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