Nunavut’s COVID-19 restrictions set to end April 11

End of public health emergency comes with end to public mask requirements, and indoor and outdoor capacity limits

Nunavut’s Health Department plans to lift the public health emergency that has been in place for more than two years on April 11. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson recommends people continue wearing masks in public, however. (File photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nunavummiut won’t be required to wear masks for much longer, as the territory’s COVID-19 public health emergency is scheduled to end April 11.

This means there will be no more restrictions on indoor or outdoor gathering sizes, no capacity limits on restaurants, gyms, businesses or places of worship, and no more isolation hubs for unvaccinated travellers arriving in Nunavut, according to a news release from the department Wednesday.

“For the past two years, Nunavummiut have had to make many sacrifices to protect our communities from the harms of COVID-19,” Health Minister John Main said in the release.

“Today, we have learned much about this virus and have the tools, such as testing options and vaccines to help reduce the risk.”

On March 9, the Health Department announced plans to incrementally lift restrictions, ending with the lifting of the territory’s public health emergency April 11. Wednesday’s announcement confirms the government is sticking to that schedule.

While mask-wearing will no longer be mandatory for the public, private businesses may continue to require staff and patrons to wear them.

As well, masks will still be required at all Government of Nunavut offices and in all health-care and elders’ facilities, Akausisarvik outpatient clinics and at Iqaluit Public Health.

Anyone who suspects they have COVID-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate, but it will still be recommended, the release says.

The government’s COVID-19 isolation food hamper support program will run until the end of May.

The department will also stop reporting COVID-19 vaccination or case numbers, besides what it is required to do, similar to other infectious diseases.

“While there are no longer restrictions in place, COVID-19 is not gone,” warned chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson.

He said Nunavummiut should continue to stay home when they are feeling sick, avoid gatherings if they’ve been in contact with someone with COVID-19, and continue to wear masks when out in public.

“I encourage all Nunavummiut to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their families, and their communities,” he said.

The territory had 89 active COVID-19 cases as of April 5, the last day Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok released case counts.

Gjoa Haven had the most cases with 21, followed by Kugaaruk with 14 and Iqaluit with 10.

Government COVID-19 information hotlines remain open at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

The emergency order has been in effect since March 18, 2020, making it active for 754 days by the time it ends April 11.

Nunavut is following other provinces and territories that have already lifted mask mandates. Ontario lifted its mask mandate in most indoor places March 21, Manitoba on March 15, and Northwest Territories on April 1.

Meanwhile, other provinces such as Prince Edward Island and Quebec still have mask mandates in place.

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(46) Comments:

  1. Posted by Umingmak on

    It’s about two years later than it should’ve been, but at least it finally happened.

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    • Posted by 867 on

      My thoughts exactly. I think it is clear now that these rules and restrictions did nothing but cost hundreds of millions of dollars to the Territory. That’s a lot of houses.

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      • Posted by S on

        Thank you Umingmak and 867; it’s good to see a bit of sanity in the land

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  2. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    This is so stupid when Canada is entering the 6th wave and we have not received our 4th booster yet. when is Nunavut going to make that 4th Covid booster available when other provinces are ahead of the game here! We are the most vulnerable with our very limited health services. Totally irresponsible!!!

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    • Posted by Eskimo on

      How did I miss the 2nd and 3rd booster shot? Is there a 4th booster shot already?

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      • Posted by More, give me more give me more on

        Yes we are on the fourth now, and should expect the fifth to come soon

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    • Posted by MARS on

      Good news for you then. Your PM bought up to 10 boosters for every Canadian. You can have mine also.

  3. Posted by Japanese Postcard on

    How can the GN require its staff to wear masks without a Public Health Emergency in effect?

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      • Posted by Brucie the Friendly Northern Store Panhandler on

        Someone doesn’t know what fascism really is.

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        • Posted by Wait, what? on

          “What makes a movement Fascist is not ideology but the willingness to do whatever is necessary – including the use of force and trampling on the rights of others – to achieve victory and command obedience.”

          From her book Fascism, Madeline Albright,

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          • Posted by Brucie the Friendly Northern Store Panhandler on

            So the GN, an employer requiring its employees (not all citizens), to use proven, non-invasive PPE to reduce sick time and protect vulnerable individuals is now up there with the oppressive regime of Mussolini. Got it.

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            • Posted by Wait, what? on

              Don’t be a humorless curmudgeon, Brucie. Have a rest and enjoy the weekend, maybe try having a laugh now and then.

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    • Posted by Right on

      I was wondering the same thing. I thought it was the Public Health Act that gave them the authority to restrict individual rights or freedoms like mask mandates.

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    • Posted by Observer on

      The same way a work site can enforce the wearing of helmets, workboots, and other protective equipment.

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      • Posted by Bert on

        No, those are enshrined in legislation with particular rules within particular contexts. This is ad hoc and born within the imagination of petty bureaucratics who quiver at the thought of giving up their arbitrary power.

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        • Posted by Japanese Postcard on

          Exactly; there must be a justified rule to reference (policy, law, etc.) and it must also stipulate the consequences for violating the rule. Without those things it can only be a suggestion. An employer cannot simply dictate that you put something on your face.

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          • Posted by DUH on

            A privately owned employer or business can require you to wear whatever they want you to wear to work, as long as it is not discriminatory, if you don’t like it you can quit…

            Just like any privately owned business can require you wear a mask in their business, or you can leave… Pandemic or not…

            Pretty simple, even for those who obviously cant understand the basics of common sense…

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            • Posted by Employer on

              It’s not a private employer. It’s a union environment. Most Private employers would have us working Saturdays without any benefits if it were up to them. I hope NEU puts and end to this.

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              • Posted by Brucie the Friendly Northern Store Panhandler on

                What makes you think the NEU is not in favour of protecting its members, especially the vulnerable ones?

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                • Posted by I’m good on

                  What are they “protecting” us from, Brucie? Something the government wants me to treat as a flu from now on, or what exactly? Haven’t you been triple dosed? Quadruple dosed? Are we still supposed to be afraid after all that?

    • Posted by Employer on

      I don’t really care about wearing masks but it is now arguably a unilateral condition imposed by the employer not bargained in the collective agreement. This means it can be grieved. I would grieve it so as to not allow GN to set precedent about imposing requirements that are not justified according to its own public health regulations. Next it will be everyone must wear a John Main T-shirt lol.

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      • Posted by Observer on

        What does the GN’s public health act say? And why would anyone grieve this. Entitled and ignorant, uncaring lot

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      • Posted by Brucie the Friendly Northern Store Panhandler on

        You can only grieve if the union files the grievance for you and it’s not likely they will fight for your right to endanger the rest of their membership including vulnerable employees.

        • Posted by Colonial on

          The public service alliance has grieved the federal vaccine mandate policy so I am not sure why you’d think they wouldn’t grieve a unilateral change in the form of a mask mandate. The GN cannot justify it without having a vaccine mandate of its own.

    • Posted by Seeing Sense on

      Same as workplaces can enforce a dress code, uniform requirement, or PPE. Been doing it for years!

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      • Posted by Not seeing sense on

        The government of Nunavut was the only government in Canada not to impose a vaccine mandate. And they’re going to insist on masks? What a sham.

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  4. Posted by Inuapik on

    Finally relized you have no more power to control us doctor?

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  5. Posted by Sam on

    Yaaaaaa, in 3 weeks we can blame the GN,when we have the 6 th wave and all get sick, squaredance here we come darn GN trying to take care of us.

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  6. Posted by Delvy on

    The REAL question I’ve been dying to ask, can we share our harmonicas after April 11?

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  7. Posted by Everything was “fine” on

    There was never a lockdown… how many fines were issued and who was the governing body for it? RCMP were not to be bothered and Public Health (just think of recent data sharing and the reporting of cases) … how could they honestly hold individuals accountable? Things were strongly suggested and allowed for mob mentality attacks on those who allegedly broke the rules. Nothing legitimate was in place… and therefore there was compliance without consequence. It will not work anymore… after stealing years of people’s lives, throwing away hundreds of millions in isolation hubs, and dictating travel/isolation … good luck enforcing a new “lockdown” when it becomes necessary in about 3-4 weeks. But, lockdowns generally come from data and the recent data is so unreliable, heavily manipulated to drive political intentions, and above all, completely pointless.

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  8. Posted by John K on

    Listen to all you Muppets.

    Screeching that restrictions were a waste of time while we approach the end of the pandemic BECAUSE of the effective restrictions.

    I hope the next pandemic is mild because we obviously won’t handle it well at all.

    People are hopeless.

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    • Posted by AT on

      Thank you John K. Finally someone who speaks out how its really is. The doctor has always made the right decisions and this saved Nunavut and prevented the loss of more Nunavummiut.

      The government did not throw money away, they accommodated citizens to be in a safe place. And for those keyboard warriors, the funds for this came mostly from Ottawa.

      To all of the commenters who complain, shake you head, get yours facts straight and hope you won’t be one of the next severely ill Covid patients

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    • Posted by John K on

      The government spent $40m on hubs that didn’t do anything. They spent $100m on floating Canadian north and calm air for no reason. They could have built 4 hospitals for that money. Must have been worth it for 99.99% survival rate.

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      • Posted by HC on

        You would not get 4 Hospitals for this money. Health Centers, maybe. Most of the money the GN spent came from Ottawa.

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      • Posted by Brucie the Friendly Northern Store Panhandler on

        Hubs didn’t do anything? Nunavut went almost completely without COVID cases for the duration of the pandemic until the Omicron variant. I would suggest that keeping Nunavut nearly COVID-free for 2 years was not nothing.

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        • Posted by Colonial on

          Exaggerating at most 16 months to two years. No evidence that any deaths were prevented. Everything was closed the entire time anyway so little impact when covid did enter the territory. For the cost of the hubs it wasn’t worth $20000000 per death.

  9. Posted by Card games on

    “Finally can do in-person Bingos and Card Games again”. Not like any card games happened during these last 2 years, right?

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  10. Posted by John on

    When will the city facilities re-open to everyone as now they restrictions will be done ?!

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  11. Posted by S on

    Many other people – here in the comments section, in my workplace, and throughout my community – are ecstatic that some of the heavyweight, fear-mongering restrictions associated with covidmania are being reduced. These ‘concessions’ are being doled out as if the restrictions themselves are the norm; it’s as if we are being ‘granted’ freedom.
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    We entered a tipping point with the entrenchment of covidmania; we got there only because the general population had been so well-aligned pre-covidmania.

    Thanks to artificial-climate propaganda, covidmania, ancestry-based policy, aligned politicos, and the unfettered power of the oligarchy-controlled mass-media, the slope is becoming slipperier by the day

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    • Posted by Brucie the Friendly Northern Store Panhandler on

      Your tinfoil hat is getting slipperier by the day.

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  12. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    In the last 2 years I haven’t contracted the cold, the flu, pneumonia , respiratory illness etc or COVID. I chalk that up to the mask and I may continue to wear one in public places if it means not getting one of those illnesses in the future.

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    • Posted by S on

      Glad to hear you didn’t contract pneumonia, cc

      You didn’t contract a respiratory virus, or even scarlet fever, because you have been isolated in isolation for the past two years
      That is the only reason.
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      Do you have an epidemiology or quantitative analysis background that would help you suggest otherwise, or do you just ‘know what you’ve been told to know’ by your friendly CNN experts?

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