Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris asked the community to continue looking after the entrance checkpoint workers as they have recently experienced ire and trouble from disgruntled travellers. (Screenshot/Seabird Island Band)

Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris asked the community to continue looking after the entrance checkpoint workers as they have recently experienced ire and trouble from disgruntled travellers. (Screenshot/Seabird Island Band)

‘Please help keep the workers safe’: Seabird Island Chief stands up for checkpoint workers

24-hour checkpoint guards have encountered anger just short of violence from some travelers

Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris issued a call of action to the community to continue defending the entrance checkpoints designed to keep residents COVID-safe.

“I have heard of a few people getting mad because of the checkpoints and not wanting to stop for the checkpoints either,” Harris said in his most recent video address. “I was told of a person who doesn’t stop for the workers and almost hit one once.”

“Please help keep the workers safe,” Chief Harris asked the community. “If you see this happening, don’t hesitate to call the RCMP.”

RELATED: Amid tighter health orders, Seabird Island setting up checkpoints

He pointed out that some of the surrounding communities also have similar checkpoints.

“I ask that you respect them and hope [other communities] respect ours,” Chief Harris said.

In late November, the Seabird Island community set up 24-hour checkpoints at the entrances of the community to limit travel and visitors. The community has embraced the workers, looking after them by providing refreshments, warmth and supplies to keep them safe.

Chief Harris again expressed his appreciation for those working the checkpoints despite adverse weather, especially as winter approaches.

Chief Harris reminded the community Dr. Bonnie Henry’s orders to stay within their communities and avoid all non-essential travel have been extended to Jan. 8.

RELATED: Seabird Island chief thanks community for embracing entrance checkpoints

At the Seabird Island gas bar, community members are now required to wear a mask to go inside; staff members will take contact information for contact tracing in the event of an exposure or outbreak. They are allowing two customers in at any given time.

“Please be patient with the gas bar staff,” Chief Harris said. “Remember, they are only doing the job they were asked to do.”

Chief Harris acknowledged the difficulties of this second pandemic wave and that some of the outbreaks and cases have hit close to home but urged the community to continue to work against COVID-19.

“We all need to be safe, wear masks, wash our hands and try and check up on our families,” he said. “I hope you can all join us in sending our thoughts and prayers to our relatives in surrounding communities who are affected by this COVID pandemic.”

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