On March 20, 2020, Chief and Council of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation issued an Order declaring a State of Emergency. Notice was given to NCN Citizens last evening that this order would be forthcoming today as part of an effort to keep the coronavirus (COVID-19) out of the community.
Chief Marcel Moody stressed that NCN is “a responsibility based community where each person has an individual responsibility to take action to protect not only themselves but our entire community. One of our customary laws is Asehewewin. This means each person is responsible for their thoughts, words and actions as they can affect themselves and other people.”
In accordance with the State of Emergency, the community is on lockdown except to facilitate the delivery of essential services to NCN Citizens and residents.
To date the following restrictions are in effect or will come into effect over the weekend:
- a ban on non-essential travel into and out of the community will go into effect at 8:oo pm on Sunday March 22, 2020 for all persons except those providing essential services in accordance with NCN’s Communicable Disease Emergency Plan, all medical personnel, utility providers, designated NCN advisors, members of Chief and Council, medical emergencies where the NCN Health Director or her designate determine the risk to the individual requires assistance at the Nursing Station and any other personnel designated in writing by Chief and Council as the need arises;
- all persons arriving at the roadside check-stop will be required to fill out a questionnaire (for tracking and monitoring visitors to the community) to ensure compliance with the non-essential travel ban;
- all NCN schools and non-essential services will be closed immediately;
- at 6:00 p.m. on March 20, 2020 a ban on the transportation of alcohol onto NCN Lands went into effect;
- private and public gatherings of more than fifty are prohibited;
- all NCN Citizens and residents on NCN Lands must remain in the community until Chief and Council or its designate indicates it is safe to resume normal activities but NCN Citizens and residents on NCN Lands will be permitted to access their traditional camps by snowmobile unless health officials advise that such activities must cease to protect the health and safety of the community;
- all persons travelling to their camps by snowmobile must first report to a First Nation Safety Officer and indicate when they are leaving for and returning from camp, who they will be in contact with while at camp, agree in writing to limit their visitors at camp to less than 10 people, that there will be no delivery of any products to them at camp, including but not limited to alcohol or cannabis and that they will not use routes to their camp to then travel to urban areas such as Leaf Rapids or Thompson.
Failure to comply with this order constitutes an offence and may result in evictions, banishments, fines, removal of benefits or other penalties. The Order will be reviewed at least weekly while it remains in effect and may be modified, revoked, or extended.