Top News

American military personnel cause alarm during visit to downtown St. John's

The area of Harbour Drive in downtown St. John's that was visited by American military personnel on Monday.
The area of Harbour Drive in downtown St. John's that was visited by American military personnel on Monday.

Servers at Jack Astor’s restaurant monitoring for symptoms

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

American military personnel visiting downtown St. John’s without self-isolating have sparked fears of another COVId-19 outbreak in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On Monday evening, a group of United States military service members visited different parts of downtown St. John’s, including Jack Astor’s on Harbour Drive.

According to a statement from Jack Astor’s, two of the military visitors shared a meal at the restaurant. Now, workers there are monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

“We practise contact tracing, and the origins of the visitors were not disclosed at the time they entered our establishment. We can, however, confirm that during the time they were at our location all team members practised social and physical distancing, wore mandatory PP equipment, and hand-sanitized every 30 minutes,” reads the statement.

“Following the incident, we immediately contacted the public health authorities and thoroughly deep cleaned and sanitized the restaurant in its entirety. All team members who may have come into contact with the two guests are self-monitoring for any symptoms related to COVID- 19. We have disclosed contact information on the two guests to public health and local authorities and continue to be diligent in our stringent safety and food-handling practices.”

On July 14, CBS News reported that American military bases in Japan had gone into lockdown after COVID-19 outbreaks in five different bases in the island nation.


“They have been made perfectly, clearly aware that the instructions to be given to these military personnel is that they are to get in a bus or in conveyance and go from the (base) to a hotel, where they take room service, and reverse the process the following day in the morning." — Health Minister John Haggie


Health Minister Dr. John Haggie says the Department of Health is investigating the incident. He says the provincial rules for visiting service members are clear.

“They have been made perfectly, clearly aware that the instructions to be given to these military personnel is that they are to get in a bus or in conveyance and go from the (base) to a hotel, where they take room service, and reverse the process the following day in the morning. That has been made perfectly clear,” Haggie told reporters on Tuesday.

Haggie says while the provincial rules are clear, there could be an issue of jurisdiction, as the group may have been granted a federal exemption.

“There is a bit of a jurisdictional issue. They fall under Canadian Border Services because they’re international travellers and they actually fall under regulations under the Quarantine Act,” said Haggie.

“My view is that whichever the most stringent requirements are — be it federal Quarantine Act, which requires 14 days of isolation as a minimum before you can move on unless you’re transiting, or the provincial one — should apply. So, we’re looking into the details.”

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday. It can take up to two weeks before any symptoms become apparent.

Twitter: @DavidMaherNL

With files from Peter Jackson

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories