Nunavik begins lifting restrictions on inter-community travel

Air travel expected to relaunch June 8, but only within the region

The Puvirnituq airport is pictured on a busy afternoon in 2018. The Kativik Regional Government says that inter-community air travel will resume in Nunavik on June 8. In the meantime, Nunavimmiut are now permitted to visit other communities by ground or water travel. (Photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Sarah Rogers

The Kativik Regional Government has begun lifting a travel ban that prevented Nunavimmiut from visiting neighbouring communities over the last two months to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Friday, May 29, the regional government said residents can once again travel between the region’s 14 communities, so long as they follow public health directives.

For now, that travel will be restricted to ground or water travel; inter-community air travel will resume on June 8, pending a schedule of regular flights expected to be announced by Air Inuit.

The travel ban on flights to and from the region remains in effect, the KRG said.

Travel from the south remains restricted to only essential medical and humanitarian travellers, who are screened before their departure and a few days following their arrival in Nunavik.

The only flights operating in and out of the region are cargo flights, chartered flights and flights directly to and from Nunavik’s two operating mines, for employees only.

As air travel starts up again, officials in the region warn that travellers will have to abide by certain conditions.

Only passengers will be allowed in the airport, where they’ll be required to wear a mask and keep a two-metre distance from other people.

For its part, Air Inuit hasn’t offered details on how it would re-launch services after a two-month hiatus.

“For the moment being, Air Inuit is part of the discussions of the potential re-opening of north-north Nunavik travel and the form that this could take,” an airline representative said in a May 29 email to Nunatsiaq News.

“Many details are being analyzed by Air Inuit and the different authorities involved.”

On the ground, outdoor and indoor get-togethers are now permitted in Nunavik, following a gradual lifting of restrictions by Quebec health officials.

Groups of 25 people can congregate in an outdoor setting, while up to five visitors are permitted to visit indoors.

Health authorities in Nunavik are still asking people to wear masks if they visit an elder or a someone living with an illness.

Restrictions around bingo events, church gatherings and working in shared offices remain in place for now, the KRG said, but they are expected to be lifted in the weeks to come.

Since May 5, all 16 Nunavimmiut who initially tested positive for COVID-19—one in Salluit, one in Inukjuak and 14 in Puvirnituq—have all recovered.

The KRG warned that restrictions could be restored again at any time if the region sees any new COVID-19 cases.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Not confined anymore? on

    Time to go see grandchildren in other towns and maybe go fishing in quaqtaq. Qanuippalikia taavanna aullasariavvigilugu?

    • Posted by Quaqtamiuq on

      There is still a lot of snow, still able to travel pretty much to the lakes.
      Enjoy your stay and welcome.
      I don’t know yet if we will be able to shake hands though. : )

  2. Posted by Matiusi on

    time to see our family and friends Qanuisagilaumirutak

  3. Posted by Looks like over, but not on

    The feeling is like the threat of the virus is no more. But thats not so. There’s two very strong arguments on the go about it all. You have both sides calling themselves experts. One side says that this virus has dire consequences, and that we must continue with vigilant behaviour to prevent the spread. The other side is saying enough of this restrictive life. The risk to humanity is very low, and we need to get back to regular living. I got this as I listen to CBC radio, in the early morning hours. There’s no consensus, or middle ground it seems , it’s all one side or the other. But , what were left with, is common sense. Those that will do well in this pandemic, will be the users of common sense. But common sense is hard to learn , if you have none. So, we’re down to common sense, you have it or you don’t. The ones with it, surely will use it to help protect the vulnerable, the kids, and those with no common sense.

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