Isolation no longer required for travel between Churchill and Nunavut
As well, country food to be provided in southern isolation hubs, and territory’s bars can be open full hours
People traveling between Nunavut and Churchill, Manitoba, no longer have to isolate for two weeks.
Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, announced on Monday, July 13, the latest easing of restrictions in place to keep COVID-19 out of the territory.
“It’s safe at the moment,” Patterson said. Nunavut remains free of any confirmed cases of COVID-19, and health officials in Churchill are “pretty certain” there’s no cases in that community.
The “common travel area,” as Patterson calls it, applies to land, water and air travel.
In order to be exempt from the requirement to isolate for 14 days before entering Nunavut, travellers must be going between Churchill and Nunavut or Nunavut and Churchill only.
They can’t have been outside of either Churchill or Nunavut for two weeks before travelling, and they must remain in Nunavut and Churchill for their entire visit.
Before leaving Nunavut to go to Churchill, people should contact Patterson’s office to give their contact information and a written declaration. Patterson’s office can be reached by emailing CPHOtravelrequests@gov.nu.ca or by going to Nunavut’s Department of Health webpage.
People who want to fly between Churchill and Nunavut have to get a letter from Patterson to authorize their flight. The letter is required in order to board the flight, Patterson said.
Patterson is working with his counterpart in Nunavik to create the same common travel bubble with Churchill. “That’s an ongoing conversation,” he said.
It’s more difficult to create a common travel bubble with Ottawa, because it’s “impossible to be certain” that people in that area won’t have come into contact with the virus that causes COVID-19.
But Patterson said his office is getting requests “on a daily basis,” especially from people who live in Arviat and Whale Cove, to be able to travel to Churchill to pick up supplies brought to the community by rail.
Country food to be served at isolation hubs
The GN is working with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to provide country food to Nunavummiut who are isolating in hotels in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa before returning to the territory.
“I don’t have a lot of details right now,” said George Hickes, Nunavut’s health minister.
He did say that the GN’s been working on it for the last little while, but how it will be rolled out or what kinds of country foods will be provided is still being worked out.
The GN is paying for food in the isolation hubs, and this will be no exception. NTI is helping to pay for the cost of shipping the food, Hickes said.
Drinking establishments allowed to open regular hours
Starting on July 20, all drinking establishments in Nunavut will be allowed to be open during their regular hours.
Bars and restaurants were allowed to open on June 22, with restrictions, including last call for alcohol at 9 p.m.
Drinking establishments will still only be allowed to operate at half capacity, and social distancing measures will still be maintained.