Two months ago today we declared a State of Emergency to protect the health and safety of our community. The leadership in other northern First Nation communities also took steps to keep COVID-19 out of our region. My Council and I firmly believe the early actions we all took have helped to limit the number of cases in northern Manitoba as the Province did not ban travel to our region until almost a month after we declared our State of Emergency.
As of today, Manitoba has 290 cases of the virus with only 3 in northern Manitoba and none within First Nations communities. Public Health experts around the world are still warning that we are only in the early stages of this pandemic which has already infected millions of people and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide so we must continue to be very, very careful in how we proceed.
We have decided to lift the lockdown on a trial basis starting tomorrow as most people in our community have followed the rules. We have to keep a number of restrictions in place to ensure our ongoing health and safety is protected. We will continue to monitor and adjust our measures based on the best information available at any given time. If any new cases occur in the north or the provincial numbers begin to increase again, then the lockdown will be put back into place.
The NCN Order in Council that will take effect tomorrow includes the following:
- NCN Citizens/Residents will be allowed to enter and exit the community subject to a number of conditions which must be followed or penalties will be imposed including whether there were previous violations of NCN Laws/OICs;
- No overnight trips will be allowed except for campers who have a special pass and agree to the camping rules;
- Once a week, each person with a valid permit under the Community Protection Law can bring up to 30 grams of cannabis and 24 355 ml cans or bottles of beer or coolers or 4 litres of wine into the community;
- The ban on liquor (rye, vodka, rum, etc.) remains in effect;
- The curfew will be from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am but people can only enter and exit the community between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm;
- Employees of NCN Government and NCN Entities are allowed to return to work in the community if they have not travelled south of Thompson or outside the province since March 20, 2020 and they display no Covid-19 symptoms;
- People who are ordinarily resident in the community and signed a declaration to leave during the past two months will be allowed to return unless they have travelled south of Thompson;
- Family and friends from Thompson can apply for a special pass to visit in the community;
- The limit on gatherings will be changed to 25 indoors and 50 outdoors including those who live in a house;
- Violators will continue to receive a $500.00 fine and may also be subject to other sanctions such as removal of benefits, evictions and banishments.
Please carefully review NCN Order in Council 313-2020-10 or have someone review it with you to ensure you understand the rules as this Bulletin does not go over all of the provisions and you must follow the new rules are you will be subject to penalties.
I want to stress that our team really appreciates that a majority of our Citizens have followed the various measures we have put in place over the past two months. We hope everyone understands that until there is a vaccine none of us will be able to live like we did just a few months ago. Also, even with a vaccine, we need to all understand that unless everyone is vaccinated globally this virus will be with us and we need to be very careful or some of us will die.
If the number of violations increase even with the new relaxed rules we will have to revoke the latest Order in Council and re-impose stricter rules.
PLEASE DO YOUR PART. ACT RESPONSIBLY. OBEY THE RULES. THEY ARE IN PLACE TO KEEP ALL OF US AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE.