All social gatherings in the NWT should be cancelled immediately to limit the spread of COVID-19, the chief public health officer (CPHO) said on Sunday morning.

The advisory applies to all gatherings “regardless of size or number of participants or whether they are held inside or outside,” Kami Kandola said in a news release.

Those gatherings include but are not limited to organized events like jamborees, spring festivals, hamlet days; religious services, including funerals and weddings; recreational facilities like arenas, pools and gyms; bingo events and community centres.

The chief public health officer also recommends that several businesses be closed “as the nature of their operation will not allow them to have suitable distancing measures in place to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.”

They include tour operators, bottle depots, gyms, museums and art galleries, bars and night clubs, theatres, buffet restaurants and personal service establishments like barbers and nail  salons.

The advice is in line with the CPHO’s recommendation on social distancing, which means people should be two metres apart to prevent the spread of the virus and limiting the number of individuals who people make contact with.

Establishments delivering essential services like supermarkets, gas bars, convenience stores, banks, pharmacies, liquor stores and coffee shops can remain open if they can maintain the two-metre separation between people.

“They should also strongly encourage employees and customers to keep a distance of 2 metres between each other, including in line-ups, wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content frequently.”

The advisory comes a day after the NWT’s first positive case of COVID-19 was announced.


Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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