As of today, Nunavut’s territorial parks and municipal playgrounds have reopened, daycares are allowed to operate, and groups of up to 25 people are allowed to gather outside.
This comes as the Government of Nunavut begins to loosen public health restrictions that were imposed on March 19.
Travel is now permitted within Nunavut. While travel outside the territory isn’t recommended, Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said that if you must go out, keep in mind the isolation requirement when returning, as well as restrictions that other jurisdictions may have in place.
Patterson said that through contact tracing, public health nurses have noticed that many Nunavummiut have been in contact with more people and households than is recommended.
“COVID-19 continues to pose a risk to Nunavut, and we are not immune to it,” he said on Monday, June 1.
Patterson went on to announce how the re-opening plan will play out in the coming weeks.
Next Monday, June 8, retail outlets will be allowed to open, “provided they have safety measures in place,” Patterson said.
The GN has been working with the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission to create safety guidelines for businesses that re-open during the pandemic.
Galleries, museums and libraries may also open, for individual browsing only. Group activities will continue to be prohibited.
There will be an increased availability of in-person health assessments at health centres in the territory at this time, as well.
In addition, starting next Monday, Government of Nunavut employees will be permitted to go back to their workplaces, and will no longer have to work from home.
Lorne Kusugak, the minister responsible for human resources, advises employees to work with their immediate supervisors to resolve any issues around childcare.
“June 8 isn’t a hard date,” Kusugak said. “Let’s make sure that people go back to work knowing that their children are in a safe place and their workplace is safe, too.”
David Joanasie, the education minister, said that 10 daycare facilities are open in Nunavut now. Six more will open later this week, another two in the next couple of weeks and another two later in June.
Joanasie said daycare managers are being given guidelines on how to open safely, and are being allowed to open at their own pace.
Provided that Nunavut is still without a positive case and everything goes smoothly, on June 15 more services will re-open.
This includes dental and physiotherapy clinics and chiropractors’ offices. Gyms and pools will be allowed to open for solo workouts and lane swims.
The status of public health measures will continue to be assessed, Patterson said.