A new order about social distancing and gatherings came into effect on April 24, 2020.  Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

A new order addressing social distancing and gatherings was outlined by Dr. Michael Patterson at an April 27 press conference, limiting social gatherings to five people or less.

This order, which went into effect on April 24, is issued under the public health emergency. Its aim is to provide clarity for Nunavummiut about what is considered acceptable for gatherings and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to this new order, all organized public gatherings that involve more that five people are not permitted. Concerts, marriages, funerals, memorial services and community and sporting events fall under this category.

All social gatherings are also restricted to five people or less. Such gatherings include social gatherings in private dwellings as well. Play groups, club meetings and meals with people who do not reside together are all considered social gatherings.

“It is strongly recommended that Nunavummiut limit contact with anyone who is not a member of their immediate household,” said Patterson. “Any social gathering carries a degree of risk, especially when we are looking at individuals from multiple different households mingling together.”

Restaurants will continue to remain closed, except for take-out or delivery. They must adhere to rules of social distancing during their services.

All businesses related to personal services must remain closed. This would include hairdressing, barbering and massage therapy.

Services from dentists, veterinarians and psychologists are also closed unless there is an emergency situation.

Public playgrounds, municipal parks, and day-use areas of territorial parks will continue to remain off limits.

Businesses that limit customers to no more than five at a time can be open.

Any business that is large enough to maintain a two-metre social distance within the workplace can also remain open. This, for example, would include places like grocery stores and pharmacies. The rule of limiting customers up to five to enter does not apply to large business places.

“This new order does not mean that restrictions are being loosened, or that the Government of Nunavut has re-assessed the territory’s position or tolerance for risk,” said Patterson. “Instead, the definitions under this new order have been aligned with definitions being applied in other jurisdictions.”

The order will be re-evaluated based on whether the situation with Covid-19 is getting better or worse for Nunavut. There is no set date for this order to be terminated.

Nunavut’s top doctor encourages Nunavummiut to exercise caution at all time, practise social distancing, wash hands and surfaces thoroughly and frequently.


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