Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok says critical workers in the territory can't keep working at their current pace to keep essential services running.
During a news conference Thursday, Akeeagok issued a special plea for daycares to reopen.
"We need you more than ever before. I am asking that you reopen your doors to help our critical services [stay] operational," Akeeagok said.
"Our health care workers, store employees, water and waste management workers must go above and beyond to help our territory during this severe wave of COVID-19. Many of these critical services are now close to the breaking point. Staff are exhausted, balancing work as well as child care, which is unsustainable for many."
Akeeagok said Education Minister Pamela Gross is working with daycares to discuss what support the Government of Nunavut can provide to help get daycare staff back in their facilities.
Akeeagok was joined at Thursday's news conference by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson and Human Resources Minister Adam Arreak Lightstone.
Lightstone said staff in his department have been working "around the clock" for the past few weeks to address the government's staffing needs.
He asked public servants, including those deemed essential, to only go to their workplace if required. Only employees who are critically essential should be working from the office.
The territory remains under a lockdown until Jan. 17, but Lightstone said there is no guarantee government offices will reopen at that point — that depends on the situation. A new update will be provided if continued closures happen.