Travel between Nunavut and Northwest Territories now allowed without isolation

Nunavut’s bars and restaurants allowed to open at half capacity on June 22

Northwest Territories residents and Nunavut residents can now travel freely between the territories, provided they have not left their respective territory for two weeks, Nunavut’s chief public health officer said today. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

Starting tonight, Northwest Territories residents can enter Nunavut without self-isolating.

That follows a similar announcement by the Government of the Northwest Territories on Friday, June 12, that it would allow Nunavut residents to enter the N.W.T. without undergoing a 14-day isolation period.

The N.W.T. has had no active cases of COVID-19 since April 20.

“Anyone who’s been in N.W.T. for at least two weeks.… I don’t think they’re at any greater risk of transmitting COVID-19 than someone from Iqaluit or Rankin Inlet,” Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said at a news conference this morning.

The N.W.T. currently requires anyone entering the territory to complete a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period and submit a self-isolation plan. This will not apply to people travelling from Nunavut, Patterson said.

The new agreement between Nunavut and N.W.T. comes with a few strict conditions, Patterson said.

First, travel must only originate from Nunavut to the N.W.T. or from the N.W.T. to Nunavut.

In addition, travellers must not have been outside their respective territory for two weeks prior to travelling. Travellers must also stay in each respective territory for the duration of their stay.

Travellers from the N.W.T. who wish to enter Nunavut will need to write to CPHOtravelrequests@gov.nu.ca and complete and sign a Nunavut-N.W.T. travellers declaration form. The same rule applies to Nunavummiut who wish to return home after staying in the N.W.T.

“Failure to do so will affect entry into Nunavut. Failure to answer truthfully will be subject to fines,” Patterson said.

Patterson said his office will issue a letter of approval, and travellers will be required to present the letter prior to entry into either territory.

The new agreement also applies to people currently in the GN’s isolation hub in Yellowknife, as long as they have not been outside the N.W.T., Patterson said.

“I want to reassure Nunavummiut that should the current situation change in either territory, we will reassess this common travel area and take all the necessary measures for the health and safety of Nunavummiut,” Patterson said.

Health Minister George Hickes said as the new agreement was just announced, the GN has not yet had conversations with the airlines about whether to increase the number of flights to the N.W.T.

“We haven’t had a chance to have any in-depth discussions, but I do know that the airlines have been following the demand.… I would anticipate the market will drive the demand,” Hickes said.

Travel restrictions for Nunavut residents returning home from southern Canada are still in place, Patterson said.

Bars, restaurants can reopen on June 22

Every two weeks since June 1, the Government of Nunavut reassesses reopening measures.

As of today, gyms in Nunavut are permitted to open for solo workouts and pools can open for lap swims. Dental clinics, chiropractic clinics, massage therapy and physical therapy services can also open today.

The following can reopen on June 22, Patterson announced this morning:

  • Restaurants and bars at half capacity with last call at 9 p.m.
  • Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons
  • Theatres
  • Churches

On June 29, youth centres and day camps will be allowed to reopen. Also on June 29, long-term care facilities will allow immediate family members to visit, with no more than one or two visitors at a time per resident, Patterson said.

As for bars and restaurants, Patterson said facility operators need to ensure that customers respect social distancing.

“Liquor inspectors have the authority to enforce orders regarding social distancing and will be monitoring to ensure adherence to these conditions,” Patterson said.

Although restrictions continue to be eased, Patterson said people should still continue social distancing and regular hand washing.

“Though we can reasonably forecast what the next few weeks may bring, we must remain aware of the possible need to change or reintroduce public health measures. Although we are in a position to loosen restrictions, we remain vulnerable to the impacts of this global pandemic,” Patterson said.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by CB on

    This is all very welcome, and thank you for doing such a great job keeping us safe. I’m daydreaming about a travel bubble with Greenland too, as they are COVID-19 clear. Charters back and forth?
    I’m both grateful and wishful.

    • Posted by Breath Holding on

      Opening international borders, particularly by air to Europe, will be quite some time. Don’t hold your breath.

        • Posted by Your Family Relations Are Unusual on

          Cousins? Seriously? They are foreigners, like any other. Travelling to Greenland is like going to any other foreign country.

          • Posted by Yes cousins on

            Yes our Inuit cousins, just like our cousins to the west in the NWT.
            The only foreigners are the people not from up here.
            Cousins to us and foreign to you.

  2. Posted by Arctic inuk on

    Iqaluit Nunavut has to slow down!
    China is having a second wave of covid-19 Iqaluit is the capital of Nunavut Iqaluit gets hit with covid-19 all of Nunavut is closed.
    People living down south can have the virus and go to Nunavut without knowing they have it without isolation. Stand tall together be very carefull and social

  3. Posted by Arctic inuk on

    The capital of Nunavut has to slow down!
    China had another lock down cause of this virus and they are getting their second wave of covid-19. Southerners coming to Nunavut should be isolating cause we don’t know if they have the virus and us inuks living here should be safe as well. Our lives matter as much as everyone else if the capital city of Nunavut gets hit all of Nunavut we’ll be closed! Please social distance and keep safe

    • Posted by Let Me Help You With This on

      Let me fix this for you – not “southerners”, instead “people coming from the south” and not “us Inuks, but instead “we Nunavummiut”.

  4. Posted by Screwed by airlines on

    About $2500 and an overnight in cam bay to go iqaluit to yelllowknife. What a pointless announcement. The airlines were given millions and are still ripping everyone off. GN should have let them fail and buy what’s left

    • Posted by Funny on

      Did they force you to travel? Lol why didn’t you use the other option and travel via Ottowa instead? Silly to make such a comment like this, be thankful there is still a airline who follows the rules and regulations stated by Transport Canada, could end up with a worse airline who doesn’t support such good safety practices.

      If you don’t like it don’t travel simple as that.

      • Posted by Read it? on

        The article says if you leave either Territory you can’t enter without isolation. If you fly to Ottawa you’re ineligible.

      • Posted by The Wise Owl on

        Obviously you must be a shareholder and have a stake in the game to make a comment regarding the cost of travel. Canadian North receives 2.5 million a week and it’s unclear to the public whether or not the Airline has to repay this subsidy from our genourous Government of Nunavut. Anyone who feels that the Airline is price gouging should not be discouraged from making a comment towards unfair prices in the Airline Industry.

  5. Posted by Northern Guy on

    So the NWT allows returning residents to isolate in the territory or in their homes if they happen to live in Inuvik, Hay River or YK after developing a self isolation plan, while the GN forces its residents to isolate in the south at considerable expense to the taxpayer and inconvenience to Nunavummiut.

  6. Posted by Concerned Inuk on

    Please GNU update your website to reflect the current situation, it is very hard to navigate and figure out what is the current status, nothing is clear on the website about travel.

  7. Posted by Melinda Porter on

    Trying to go home for a visit to Gjoa Haven from Yellowknife

  8. Posted by Melinda Porter on

    Trying to go to Gjoa Haven NU. For a visit from Yellowknife for 2 weeks

  9. Posted by Melinda Porter on

    Trying to go home from Yellowknife to Gjoa Haven NU fire W2 week

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