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
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.