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UPDATE: St. John's state of emergency remains in effect, city working on plan to open some pharmacies

Looking at this picturesque drone photo of St. John's sent to The Telegram by reader Eric Aylward, you wouldn't say the city is buried under 70-plus centimetres of snow.
Looking at this picturesque drone photo of St. John's sent to The Telegram by reader Eric Aylward, you wouldn't say the city is buried under 70-plus centimetres of snow. - Contributed

Mount Pearl and Paradise temporarily lifting state of emergency; private snow contractors permitted to clear snow

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The City of St John's says it's working with health officials to identify a list of pharmacies to consider opening for short periods, as well as possible opening times today.

When the city updated its state of emergency on Sunday night, saying it would remain in effect through Monday, it also noted that pharmacies — some of which were permitted to open for a short period on Sunday — would have to stay closed. 

Minister of Health John Haggie, upon learning of the city's plan on Sunday night, took to Facebook. 

"I, along with officials with Eastern Health, have spoken with Mayor Breen and city staff about access to health services for residents of St. John's. As a result of our conversation, Mayor Breen has agreed to allow some pharmacies to open for short periods tomorrow. I ask for your patience as more information will be provided as it becomes available."

The city says an update will be made as soon as possible.

Gas stations will be permitted to open for emergency refuelling. The city has asked the public to co-operate and restrict accessing a station only when absolutely necessary.

Snow removal contractors will be allowed to continue operations.

“We recognize the challenges caused by this State of Emergency and appreciate the co-operation of our residents as we work to reopen roads as quickly and safely as possible,” the city said in its release.

Mount Pearl will lift the state of emergency between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. as of Monday. Emergency vehicles, private snow clearing operators, oil deliveries, transportation of essential workers and snow clearing are all exceptions until then.

The Town of Paradise will also be lifting the state of emergency starting tomorrow between the times of 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. Snow clearing efforts will happen during the overnight period, and the town asks that residents stay home during this time.

Conception Bay South town council will reopen Monday, but recreation facilities will remain closed to the public. The recreation facilities will be open to town staff only, for maintenance and inspection purposes. The Town Hall will open at 8 a.m. on Monday. The Town is asking employees to respect all states of emergencies in effect.

As of 11 a.m., on Sunday, the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's temporarily lifted the state of emergency to allow for residents to get emergency supplies.

Starting at 1 p.m., the recreation centre behind the town hall will be opened as a warming centre for residents who need it. However, they are asking people who don't need emergency supplies to stay home, as the significant amount of snow still on the ground could not accommodate heavy traffic. The streets are currently too narrow.

The ban was reinstated at 9 p.m., and they ask residents to respect the ongoing state of emergencies still in effect in neighbouring municipalities

The Town of Torbay will allowed for Foodland to open between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., so residents could gather emergency supplies but resources are limited, they said. A state of emergency is still in effect, but private contractors have been given the go-ahead to start clearing lots and driveways.

Military assistance

The Canadian Forces are hoping to begin assisting the province with emergency services today. They will be assisting with snow removal, provide transportation to warming centres and help people with health concerns, including the elderly, have their needs addressed. They will also be assisting search and rescue efforts out of Gander.

If you require assistance from military personnel to shovel yourself out of your house, the City of St. John's asks that you call 311 or 709-754-CITY (2489). A high volume of calls is expected and all calls will be assessed and prioritzed with regard to need.

"This support is limited to vulnerable populations who require physical assistance with snow shoveling for home access only," a press release from the City of St. John's said.

If you have trouble getting through to the city, you can email them at service@stjohns.ca, and an operator will call you back when they can.

This process may take several days to complete.

Power outages

Meantime, Newfoundland Power crews dealing with challenges of access to certain areas, as well as iced up power lines and equipment.

"Our crews continued to make good progress overnight. Snow-blocked roads and high drifts continue to be an issue for crews, delaying our ability to safely access some outage areas," Newfoundland Power Tweeted this morning. "Crews are also dealing with salt spray and heavy icing on power lines and equipment in some areas."

Newfoundland Power website has an Outage Centre to check for latest updates: newfoundlandpower.com/outages

Health care services

911 is still in operation for emergencies and the NL Health Line can be reached at 811 or 1-888-709-3555, if you need to speak with a registered nurse.

The mental health line is 737-4668 or 1-888-737-4668. Visit bridgethegapp.ca for mental health resources.

For emergency transportation to the hospital, call Eastern Health at 777-3571. 

In a press release on Sunday, Eastern Health said "emergent and urgent services" will proceed in St. John's, on Monday and Tuesday 21, at the Health Sciences Centre, Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation, the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, St. Clare's Mercy Hospital, Waterford Hospital and Dr. L.A. Miller Centre. All other services will be cancelled.

Monday's closures

The Signal Hill, Marine Institute and St. John's Campus of Memorial University will remain closed Monday. 

College of the North Atlantic Bonavista, Carbonear, Clarenville, Prince Philip Drive (ATC, child care centre & Topsail Road offices), Ridge Road, Seal Cove and Placentia campuses are staying closed on Monday.

All provincial government offices in the St. John’s metro region will be closed all day Monday as the cleanup from this weekend’s storm continues.


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