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GNWT releases Covid-19 health guidelines for holiday celebrations

The GNWT released on Tuesday a list of health guidelines for minimizing the risk of Covid infection during the holiday season. NNSL file photo

With the risk of Covid-19 infections rising higher than ever during the holiday season, the GNWT released a list of health guidelines based on public health orders for celebrating the holiday season while protecting residents in a news release on Tuesday.

The territorial government advises that if anyone in a household has travelled outside the NWT in the last 14 days that everyone in the household must self-isolate to best avoid Covid-19 outbreaks.

People should self-monitor for coronavirus symptoms and cancel get-togethers if they feel unwell or display minor symptoms.

Do not host other people if you're self-isolating. Guests who are self-isolating should try to connect virtually instead. Consider connecting through video calls or video-sharing to keep physical circles small, while staying connected with friends and family virtually.

If hosting a holiday dinner, remember the NWT’s indoor gathering limits of five people in addition to household members, up to a maximum of 10 people, indoors at any time.

At meals, guests should be physically distanced and shouldn't share glasses or cutlery.

Avoid physical greetings such as kissing and clinking glasses. Elbow taps and virtual hugs are acceptable.

In indoor public spaces like community or banquet halls, up to 25 people are permitted to gather with physical distancing, hand-washing and enhanced cleaning measures in effect.

In outdoor spaces, up to 50 people can meet with physical distancing by household and hand-washing.

NWT residents cannot celebrate the holiday season as usual this year but can still find Covid-safe ways to meaningfully enjoy the holidays, said Health Minister Julie Green, on Tuesday. Blair McBride/NNSL photo

Consider always wearing a mask whenever you are in any public space.

Avoid Christmas caroling and other door-to-door activities.

Religious services should not exceed the maximum allowable number of people. Virtual options should be considered.

If you plan to visit a family member in continuing care or hospital, carefully follow all visitor policies. The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority provides guidelines for these facilities. Non-medical masks are mandatory.

“We know the holiday season will look different this year in our territory and around the world," said Health Minister Julie Green.

"The realities of the Covid-19 pandemic mean we cannot travel and gather as family, friends and community in our usual manner. With creativity and good humour, however, we can all find Covid-safe ways to meaningfully celebrate this beautiful season.”

Full guidelines are available on the GNWT’s Covid-19 response website, including a print-ready document.