An increase in the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings is planned for the end of the school year according to the GNWT’s new Emerging Wisely pandemic recovery plan.
The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer shared the document with MLAs June 7 and released it to the public today.
The much-anticipated Emerging Wisely 2021: Step by Step Together update from Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer, indicates as many as 200 people will be allowed to gather indoors once restrictions are eased after the end of the current school year, or roughly “early July” according to the document.
“Waiting until the school year has finished will help to ensure that a level of safety remains in place for the most vulnerable population; children under 12-years-old,” Kandola said.
She said that means most businesses would be able to operate as or nearly as they were before the pandemic.
Gatherings at work and in private residences will be OK again.
Other changes include that public health restrictions on outdoor gatherings will allow for up to 200 people if physical distancing is possible, starting on June 9.
By early summer, the self-isolation and testing requirements for domestic travellers is also expected to be eased.
“This will allow fully vaccinated travellers to travel without being required to self-isolate upon their return and will allow shortened self-isolation periods for partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers,” Kandola said.
And by the fall, life could return to normal with all pandemic restrictions left in the dust.
Restrictions will continually be eased or discontinued as the CPHO”s targets are reached, Kandola said.
“Specific targets have been established based on an informed risk analysis and are outlined in the plan,” she said. “The CPHO has determined, based on vaccination levels in the NWT, that it is now safe to ease restrictions on outdoor gatherings in the NWT.”
Premier Caroline Cochrane said self-isolation periods for fully vaccinated people are to be eliminated by summer.
“By fall, leisure travel is expected to resume and be open to all visitors without the need for an exemption,” she said.
Cochrane said she approved the plan which focuses on easing restrictions based on data rather than firm dates.
“With this new plan, we are positioned to respond to the pandemic’s evolving nature and ease restrictions as conditions and information allow, enhance restrictions as required, and target restrictions as necessary,” she said.
The latest changes are due to vaccination levels continuing to rise and COVID-19 cases decreasing in other jurisdictions, Kandola said.
“In the world of public health no one is safe until everyone is safe. While I understand that individual choice about these restrictions is valuable to residents, we will continue to work toward the common health of the entire NWT population,” she said.
“You have done your part well, and we need to take cautious steps toward easing restrictions so that we can continue to keep our communities and residents safe.”
Information and statistics
The GNWT said in the June news release that community-level vaccination data will be presented on its GNWT dashboard every week along with regional and territorial coverage updates.
It will allow for more detailed filtering that will include categories with statistics for eligible population aged 18 and over, eligible population aged 12 and over and overall population of the NWT.