Indoor gatherings of up to 200 people will now be permitted in the Northwest Territories.

With some exceptions, Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer (CPHO), announced on June 29 that groups of up to 200 people could now gather inside.

With the relaxation of these restrictions, businesses and organizations can increase capacity and resume holding events.

For activities deemed high risk – live singing and musical performances, indoor dancing, winter sports, handgames and funerals – organizers will still require CPHO approval to ensure events are carried out safely. With masking, physical distancing, proper ventilation and sanitization stations, however, even high risk events can be given the green light.

“NWT residents and communities are ready to get back to the life that we know and love,” Health and Social Services Minister Julie Green said of the announcement. “It has been a long 15 months for all of us, and we are now at a point where we can look forward to the elimination of all COVID-related public health restrictions.”

While additional measures are not required, Kandola encouraged residents to continue using habits like frequent hand washing, masking, self-monitoring and sanitizing high touch surfaces to stay safe.

“Let’s not get complacent. Now is the time for NWT residents to take responsibility and be aware of the risks of COVID-19. Please make sure you are informed and continue to use healthy habits,” she said.” “COVID-19 will not be eliminated, but we are learning how to live with it safely.”

Along with easing restrictions on indoor gatherings, the CPHO also amended the public health order on isolation for employees of mining and gas work camps. As of June 29 employees of mineral and petroleum industries no longer have to complete 14 days of isolation before being permitted to travel to their workplace.

“Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to getting back to doing the things that we love,” Premier Caroline Cochrane said. She thanked all those who have been vaccinated and done their part to allow restrictions to continue to ease. Cochrane also encouraged businesses and individuals “to stay informed about the risks of COVID-19 in your unique situations, and take the precautions you feel are needed.”

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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