Advertisement

Most travel into the Northwest Territories will be halted March 21. There will be limited exceptions.

Chief public health officer Kami Kandola plans to restrict travel into the territory by non-residents and quarantine returning residents. NNSL file photo

The GNWT issued the following statement Friday night:

NWT Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola is preparing to make an order effective March 21, 2020 prohibiting all travel (by air, land, and port) into the Northwest Territories, with limited exceptions, to combat COVID-19 in the territory.

Furthermore, Dr. Kandola will also order those returning to the territory, to self-isolate in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River, or Inuvik.     

This measure will be required to ensure protection of residents of our smallest communities as people return north.

There will be measures to support cases of people who may not have access to accommodations in any of these communities.

This order will also require those who have returned to the NWT within the preceding 14 days, to self-isolate in their current community.  All individuals will be required to complete a self-isolation plan. Further details on this measure will be forthcoming.

This is necessary due to the growing risk of COVID-19 as it spreads throughout Canada, and make it possible to ensure those at risk of COVID-19 due to travel are self-isolating in communities with well-equipped healthcare facilities.

Travel through all points of entry into the Northwest Territories — both air and road — will be prohibited to all travellers with the exception of:

  • NWT residents.
  • Import/export workers — including those providing important supply chain transportation services for food, equipment, fuel, or other goods into the territory, movers and carriers, and workers that support the supply chain industry.
  • Flight crews.
  • Medical Travel patients from Kitikmeot.
  • Persons who support essential services — including health care professionals, law enforcement, and those who support services that if interrupted could endanger residents’ life, health or safety.
  • Workers involved in the construction of GNWT capital infrastructure projects.
  • Southern resident transient workers in the mineral and petroleum resources industry, and
  • Persons who cross the NWT border while participating in traditional harvesting or on the land activities and who do not enter any communities as part of this.

Further Guidance and conditions will be issued as part of the order for the following persons:

  • NWT residents.
  • Import/export workers — including those providing important supply chain transportation services for food, equipment, fuel, or other goods into the territory, movers and carriers, and workers that support the supply chain industry.
  • Flight crews.
  • Persons who support essential services — including those coming to provide childcare or similar support services for essential service workers, and those participating in the COVID-19 response.

When Will It Come Into Force?

It is intended this order will be issued on Saturday, March 21, 2020.  However, it will not be issued until all operation measures are in-place to ensure it is implemented in the most orderly fashion possible.

This includes human resource re-deployment, contacts, and processes to triage those who arrive home. Communication materials are also being created to inform those entering by air and road.

Updates will be issued with further implementation guidance.

This order will be made under the NWT’s Public Health Act, using the additional powers granted to the Chief Public Health Officer during a Public Health Emergency.

Information on Enforcement

Under the Public Health Act, the Chief Public Health Officer may require any Peace Officer to actively enforce orders. Disobeying them is punishable by law and may include a fine upon summary conviction of up to $10,000 and six months imprisonment.

Upon the issuance of the order, anyone who does not follow these directions will be subject to these penalties.

 

Advertisement

Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in his home province of Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories again. He should be at least six...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.