Birchwood closing temporarily as YK struggles with outbreak, staff to continue being paid

The cafe is scheduled to re-open on May 10.

Birchwood Coffee Kǫ̀ will be closing for a week to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. Yellowknife is dealing with an outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School. (Photo by Mariah Caruso/ CKLB Radio)

Popular downtown Yellowknife cafe Birchwood Coffee Kǫ̀ is temporarily closing to help limit the spread of a COVID-19 outbreak in the city.

There are currently eight active cases connected to an outbreak at N.J. Macpherson school — an additional 12 probable cases are awaiting confirmation in a lab.

Despite the situation, Dr. Kami Kandola, the chief public health officer, is not ordering a full lockdown — which would close non-essential businesses.

But Birchwood co-owners wrote in an email “closing seems like the responsible thing to do.”

“Lots of people are in isolation, the schools are closed, and people are being told to stay home as much as possible. We want to be proactive and help in a small way to help us all get through this safely,” wrote Jawah Scott, co-owner of Birchwood, in an email.

The email says the restaurant intends to re-open on May 10, and staff will still be paid full-time while off.

“Our staff have been great and they deserve the same level of support as we’ve had from Yellowknifers for the past year,” says Patrick Scott, co-owner.

Patrick wrote about the additional challenge difficulty the local business will face as Starbucks is scheduled to open in Yellowknife this week, without refering to the company by name.

“As the owners we decided to take the financial hit and hope we will recover through Yelkowknifers remaining loyal to our family business as we face more issues and new competition from an International chain,” he finished.

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Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at