We should count our lucky blessings we’ve only had five cases of Covid-19 in the NWT. But don’t be lulled into acting foolishly. Covid has infected over two million people and killed 145,000 people worldwide as of April 17. Whoa.

And that’s why the chief public health officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, banned all indoor gatherings. This means any amount of people who don’t live together cannot get together in the same indoor space. Yay. We need to protect our people.

Don’t forget, you can be fined for breaking the following gathering guidelines.
No visitors inside any home. Say what? You mean my best friend can’t visit? Nope. Or my cousin? Nope. My granddaughter? Nope. Do not let anybody visit you. The whole idea is to stop Covid-19 from spreading.

No matter how close a person is, do not let them visit you! Whew.

If you are providing care for someone, spend as little time as you can in their home. I know they might be lonely, but many people spread the virus before symptoms show.

And, to boot, some people who don’t even get symptoms spread the virus around. That could be you, or me! Which means we could infect the very person we are helping. Very uncool.

Regular funerals are not allowed, though burials with immediate family are okay. Whoa, this is a tough one. It just shows that they’re not only stopping the fun things.

If you go on the land, you can only go with people you live with. Also, your tent must follow the same rules as a house, no visitors. Holy camoly. Really? In the bush too? Well yaaaaaaa.

Being on the land doesn’t make you immune from being infected. If a visitor has Covid-19, you will still be infected if droplets of liquid hit you when they cough, sneeze or talk to you. Not cool.

Gatherings outside are allowed for up to ten people, if they follow physical distancing protocol the whole time. That means everyone must stay six feet away from each other.
The same rules apply when going on walks with friends; you may go but you must keep six feet apart. You must also maintain these distancing guidelines while out in public.

Shut off the booze taps

Last, but definitely not least, cancel all drinking parties. Are you thinking, “On no. What am I going to do? I’m a real social butterfly when I drink.” Well, you gotta be responsible and don’t hold any parties or go to parties.

Don’t forget, people who are drinking lose inhibitions and are careless. It might be better if liquor stores were closed until the coronavirus issue is over. No, forget that; it WOULD be better to close liquor stores. Eschia!

The government continues to sell booze, saying some people would go into withdrawals if liquor stops being sold. As a recovering alcoholic, I can tell you that many, many drinking people will not practice physical distancing.

Shut off the taps, GNWT! Shut off the taps! You are putting people at risk in every community by continuing to sell booze. Isn’t it better for a few people to go into withdrawals than to put all the rest of us in danger?

These measures will be enforced by the NWT’s new compliance task force led by Conrad Baetz, the deputy chief public health officer. Now you’re talking!

Baetz and 30 public health officers will help make sure people comply with orders. Dr. Kandola says the health officers are people already known and respected in the communities.

Kandola said the task force was put in place after people from across the NWT contacted her office, saying that there needed to be ramifications for breaking the rules, because people were not complying with the health orders.

And please, please do not think that prayer alone is good enough to keep you from being infected.

Bishop Gerald Glenn, a prominent evangelical pastor in Virginia, recently died from Covid-19. He had refused to close his church and told his congregation, “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.”

Stay safe, and remember, no visitors inside your home.

Roy Erasmus

Roy Erasmus Sr. Is a certified wellness counsellor who survived heart disease and a former member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

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