Nunavik begins lifting restrictions on inter-community travel
Air travel expected to relaunch June 8, but only within the region
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.