The opening of NWT parks will be delayed indefinitely, the GNWT announced on Friday afternoon.
“The decision supports territory-wide efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Northwest Territories. It follows examples set by Parks Canada and other jurisdictions,” the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment (ITI) said in a news release.
The government’s online reservation system, which was due to be opened on April 15 will also be closed further notice. Most NWT parks normally open on May 15.
“We know that families are eager to get outside and enjoy NWT Parks. I can assure you this decision was not made lightly, but ultimately the health and safety of our guests, staff, and contractors is our top priority. We look forward to the opening of our parks season at a later date,” said ITI Minister Katrina Nokleby.
Rentals of facilities, such as kitchen shelters will be unavailable until the parks open.
Walking trails in NWT parks remain open, though walkers should maintain social distancing and clean up after their dogs if they bring them along.
The delay of the opening of the parks comes just hours after chief public health officer Kami Kandola ordered the cancellation of all indoor gatherings, including parties, funerals, meetings, church services and team sports.
The ban includes visitors inside homes and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people.
The order takes effect on Saturday at noon.