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

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, says the territorial government has performed surveillance testing in every community that has experienced an outbreak of COVID-19. (File photo)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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.

Medical travelers between Churchill and Nunavut haven’t had to isolate since June 22.

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 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.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavut volunteer on

    The 14 day isolation after an appointment with doctors in Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg is causing a lot of stress between family members and couples. I wish the Nunavut Government would find a solution soon so patients and other can go home sooner. One doctor appointment which might be a day becomes 3 weeks in most causes. Thank-you for all your hard work to the Health department and Government.

  2. Posted by Atlantic Traveler on

    It would be great if Nunavut could join the Atlantic Travel Bubble……….

  3. Posted by testing on

    When can we get testing setup in these isolation hubs?? When can we cut down the time spend in isolation?

  4. Posted by Let Me Isolate at Home on

    Nunavut is the only place in Canada where I cannot isolate at home. These isolation hotels are a complete waste of taxpayer money and punative to Nunavummuit. Why can’t I isolate at home? Why can’t I take vacation and then work from home for two weeks instead of wasting it to sit in a hub doing nothing? Answer me. Trapped for no reason where if I was working anywhere else in Canada they’d respect the Charter of rights. Cue local morons saying to leave if I don’t like it.

    • Posted by Stay where you are on

      Pretty simple: if you’re infected you could pass it on to someone in a Nuvavut airport.

      Try to make the most of your GOVERNMENT FUNDED quarantine and stay positive. Do you know what some people would give up for 14 days of pure solitude? Imagine how much of a better place Nunavut would be overnight if everyone in isolation practiced breathing techniques and seriously worked on their mental health. Most are too busy complaining with their nose buried in their phones to consider that option though.

      • Posted by Pure Solitude? on

        Let me isolate at home has a point. A lot of people, GN workers or not are not seeing this 14 days of isolation as pure solitude. If you are isolating by yourself, maybe, but if you are isolating with kids, its an entirely different ball game. It’s probably more pure terror than solitude 🙂

        Why is that we were told to work from home the last 4 months irregardless if we can work from home or not but if we were to go south for whatever reason that suddenly we cannot work in an isolation hub but have to use 14 days annual leave since its a “holiday”. I do not consider the 14 days isolation a “holiday”. And lets be honest here, the isolation process is a sham. Especially knowing now the staff and security guards at the isolation hubs do not need to isolate and possibly exposing nunavutmiut who are being isolated. And not to mention in the plane, its packed like sardines, yes we all are wearing mask but if I came up through the isolation hub, there is a big chance I am sitting next to a critical worker who did not isolate! A case in Nunavut will be through the critical workers who did not isolate.

        And an indeterminate critical worker has said if she went south and came back to Nunavut, she has to isolate but CSA critical workers dont have too. How does one explains that logic?

        • Posted by Kids? on

          Except under extreme circumstances, who in their right minds would bring their kids south then back through quarantine? I know it probably happens but very rarely.
          Regardless, the 14 day quarantine experience is more of a reflection of yourself than of the government. Some people see it as jail because they can’t stand to be by themselves, some see it as a golden opportunity to relax.

      • Posted by Let Me Isolate at Home on

        Are you suggesting it’s a benefit that this is government funded? Of course it is, they have no authority to charge citizens to isolate. They don’t even charge the contractors for it.
        . It’s got to be against the collective agreement to tell me that I need to take two weeks vacation in a hotel room. I know for my breathing techniques and chakra that I need to be in a forest or it doesn’t work, so I guess your idea is out for me.
        There is no basis to suggest the hubs protect anyone as another poster has highlighted. It’s the GN saying that the population (being 85% inuit) can’t be trusted to self isolate at home. All other provinces and territories respect autonomy as an adult, but not Nunavut.
        The point is that people should be able to isolate at home with their kids, not be forced to choose between staying in Nunavut (where there is basically no child care to begin with, let alone now with the pandemic) or spending two weeks in a 10×10 hotel room with children.
        No one to date has articulated any basis to suggest the hubs is the best approach. Patterson and the GN don’t even address alternatives.

    • Posted by Why U dum on

      The government, that is their job…to split famlies up, keep them poor, so that they can tell them what to do.

  5. Posted by Why u Dum on

    PS Dr. Patterson thank you for opening up Churchill, now people from the Kivalliq will be able to get there booze. Thanks

  6. Posted by whoopee on

    The guys who were dumped in Nunavik have a better chance of going home sooner if they go back to Montreal, then Churchill, spend two weeks in isolation in both cities, then eventually go home. Unless they have been totally forgotten!

  7. Posted by High Arctic on

    What about the flight from Iqaluit to Kuujjuaq?

  8. Posted by Peter Triggs on

    Does anyone know what hotel in Winnipeg will be receiving country food?

    My daughter-in-law is from Hall Beach. She and her family are staying with me here and she really misses it. I would love to be able to get some for her.

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