Politicians also stuck at home, working virtually during COVID-19 pandemic

Guidance from the province’s chief medical officer of health to stay at home doesn’t just apply to the public — politicians have also been travelling as little as possible in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Premier Dwight Ball said there are “very few, if any” cabinet ministers around Confederation Building.

“They are doing as little travel as possible, even around their districts for that matter, ” he said during Friday’s briefing.

Health Minister John Haggie, who participated in Friday’s briefing by Skype from his house in Gander, said the provincial government finally has the technology to allow him to do more work from home, rather than travelling to St. John’s, which he’s regularly been doing.

“I would have loved to have hidden in my corner in the house for the last four weeks and stay put, but unfortunately we are working in an environment where that is not possible,” said Haggie. “Until very recently there has been no conceivable way that I could fulfil the responsibilities the premier has placed on me, or the expectations of the general public.”

“I will leave it up to judge others whether my presence in Confederation Building is essential.”

‘A really strange thing’

MHA for Labrador West Jordan Brown said he left the House of Assembly a day before the last sitting and has been doing the majority of his work from home, which has been a drastic change from what he is used to.

Jordan Brown, MHA for Labrador West said interacting with the public has changed since COVID-19 started in province. (CBC)

“You see someone at the grocery store or the mall you want to shake their hand and go up to them and talk to them but you can’t do that now.… As a politician that’s actually a really strange thing,” Brown said.

Brown said like others, he is relying on the internet and old fashioned telephone calls to talk with constituents and colleagues.

Although the premier said there is no need to call MHAs other than Haggie to St. John’s right now, Brown said he will travel back when required.

“If I am required to return I will return, obviously I’ll take every precaution possible,” he said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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