Health Advice for Gatherings

Last modified: 
Wed, 07/22/2020 - 14:42

public health order to relax restrictions on gatherings was put in place on April 15, 2020 to allow 5 people to visit, if the total number of people in the home is 10 or less. Private outdoor gatherings allow for 50 people or less.

A gathering is when several people get together in a single place, inside or outside, in a way that risks people being close enough to spread COVID-19.

All indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people or less

Failure to comply can lead to 6 months in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.

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Gatherings include:

  • Feasts
  • Organized outdoor and indoor events (jamborees, festivals, hamlet days, etc.)
  • Faith based services / events
  • Bingos/Chase the Ace

Outdoor gatherings of 50 people or less are allowed if strict social (physical) distance of at least two metres is maintained the entire time. If not, these gatherings are illegal.

This means for everyone:

  • Households may have a maximum of 5 additional persons visit at any given time – to a maximum of 10 persons in the house. If you have a household of 2, you can have a total of 7 persons in the house. If you have a household of 6, you can only have 4 persons come over. You can establish a friendship circle for indoor visitors to your house.
  • If you are caring for someone, you must limit your time inside their living space as much as you can.
  • If a loved one has passed away, you cannot have an indoor funeral. However a small outdoor funeral or burial service is allowed. For information see Funeral and Burial Services.
  • You can keep in touch with your friends by video chat, phone, social media, or group chat for a while.
  • No outdoor get-togethers where people stand close together with people who you do not live with. If you have 50 people or less there, you must all always keep two metres apart, otherwise it is illegal.
  • If you are on-the-land, your tent is the same as being inside a house.
  • When you are out in public, you must always keep two metres away from people.
  • You can still go for a walk with your friend – but you need to keep at least two metres apart the entire time.

Can we have public events?

Organized public events such as community feasts, barbeques, outdoor small concerts, and outdoor bingo are allowed for up to a maximum of 50 people, and if appropriate public health measures are in place. For more information, see public events with 50 or less people.

Can faith-based gatherings start?

Yes. However, it is restricted to a maximum of 25 people and you must comply with the public health measures. For more information, see restrictions eased further on community gathering spaces and additional spaces open up.

What about campgrounds? Are they open?

Yes. Campgrounds, including private campgrounds and public campgrounds within a Territorial Park that accommodate overnight camping can open. For more information, see Campground limitations ease further.

Are public parks and recreational areas open?

Yes. Municipal parks, beaches, playgrounds, and outdoor cook shelters are open. People can attend public parks and outdoor recreational areas if they practice social (physical) distancing of 2 metres.

Indoor cook shelters and public washrooms that have showers are located in public parks will remain closed.

What about childcare? Can I still have people I know provide care to my children in my home?

All childcare arrangements – whether it is at a day home, daycare, or done by a family member who regularly visits your home – are still allowed.

Can gathering orders affect existing child custody arrangements?

No. All existing child custody arrangements will be respected - no gathering order will restrict arrangements involving children and their parents/guardian. 

Why are we doing this?

To limit the introduction and spread of COVID 19, it is important to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres. Gatherings and certain businesses that require close contact between people increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The actions that we are taking will help protect residents – especially our elderly and other vulnerable populations.

What do we do if we see a person not following the rules?

Contact Protect NWT – the contact centre for our Compliance and Enforcement Taskforce – to report your credible, specific complaint. It will be investigated, and appropriate action will be taken. Email or call 8-1-1, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How long is this going to happen?

That depends on how well we do as a territory and country in responding to COVID-19. Right now, there is no end date because there is no indication the COVID-19 crisis has reached its peak in the rest of Canada.

But that is being re-evaluated every two weeks because Minister of Health and Social Services Diane Thom needs to re-declare the Public Health Emergency every two weeks by law.

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