Gatherings and events

Last modified: 
09/22/2021 - 17:00

Some gatherings can have a higher risk than others of allowing COVID-19 transmission. The safest gatherings have good air ventilation, and provide for safe distancing between people who are not likely to have travelled outside the NWT.

Gathering restrictions 

Behchoko is currently under a Containment Order, to learn more visit: Questions and answers - Containment Orders.

Whati is currently under a Containment Order, to learn more visit: Questions and answers - Containment Orders.

Yellowknife, N'Dilo, and Dettah are currently under a Gathering Restrictions Order and the following additional limits apply in those communities:

Indoor Household Gatherings

  • 5 additional persons can visit at any given time – to a maximum of 10 persons in the house.
    • Example: A household of 2 can have a total of 7 people.
    • Example: A household of 6 can only have 4 people over.

Indoor Events or Get-Togethers

  • 10 people or less are allowed
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres, hand washing/sanitizing, and disinfection protocols where required must be in place.

Outdoor Events or Get-Togethers

  • 25 people or less allowed
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres, hand washing/ sanitizing measures are in place.
  • Travel by household group and no sharing of food and drinks. This includes funerals.

Variances to the order

  • All previous exemptions for businesses and facilities will no longer apply to limit the number of persons who can gather. 
  • This limit will not apply to essential businesses and facilities, provided they limit the number of in-person staff to those required to carry out operations. 
  • Non-essential businesses may continue to operate as long as they do not exceed gathering limits. Please see Containment and Gathering order FAQs.


Friendship (Social) Circle

In your household, you should keep your circle of friends as small as possible. Here are a few good ways to do it.

  • Keep to your fave five: Stick with the same five people to invite over to your place. Remember – you could still hang out with others at a park or in your backyard as long as you keep two metres apart. Your fave five would just be for inside your house where the risk is highest.
  • Have each person in the house pick one person they will have over regularly: this is a great way to make sure your best friends can come over for a coffee, while your household’s circle stays small.
  • Pick another house with your best friends or a family you get along with and have them over regularly: this is another way to keep your circle small.

Outdoor gatherings

Outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people are permitted. Outside gatherings are lower risk because there is a lot of space to distance and more air flow so COVID-19 has less of a chance to hang around. That means we can enjoy outdoor sports, music festivals, food and drink on patios and have garage sales and parades. Physical distancing and masking is not required.

Activities involving less than 200 people can go ahead with minimal restrictions:

  • For outdoor sports, players must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines from their national and provincial sports organizations.
  • Businesses, organizations, restaurants and bars must develop and implement an exposure control plan to eliminate or minimize worker exposer to COVID-19, and have it available if requested by a Public Health Officer

Additional Approvals

OCPHO approval is required for:

  1. Outdoor gatherings of over 200 people
  2. High-risk activities, including:
    • Funerals or celebrations of life

To host a gathering of over 200 people or a high-risk activity, apply for an activity exemption.

If a business/organization already has approval from the OCPHO to hold a high-risk activity or gathering of more than 200 people, they do not need to reapply unless the activity has changed. Businesses can apply for exemption to host multiple events of the same type in a specific location rather than having to apply for each individual event.

Optional Additional Measures

Even if a business/event does not require an approved plan, it is recommended that organizers, business owners, operators and residents complete their own risk assessments.

Indoor gatherings

Indoor gatherings of up to 200 people are permitted. This means we can go to people’s houses, have parties and workplace get-togethers, and most businesses restaurants, stores and offices can operate at normal capacity.

Businesses and organizations can return to pre-pandemic indoor capacity limits as long as that capacity is not for more than 200 people in an indoor location per floor. Physical distancing and masking is not required.

  • Businesses, organizations, restaurants and bars must develop and implement an exposure control plan to eliminate or minimize worker exposure to COVID-19, and have it available if requested by a Public Health Officer.

Additional Approvals

OCPHO approval is required for:

  1. Gatherings of over 200 people
  2. High-risk activities, including:
    1. Live singing
    2. Wind instrument performances
    3. Indoor dancing
    4. Funerals
    5. Handgames
    6. Indoor winter sports

To host a gathering of over 200 people or a high-risk activity, apply for an activity exemption.

Optional Additional Measures

Masking and physical distancing are not required for indoor gatherings, however higher risk indoor facilities such as health care, long-term care and corrections facilities may adopt more stringent policies if they wish.

Even if the event does not require an approved plan, it is recommended that organizers, business owners, operators and residents complete their own risk assessments.

Contact Us

Call 811 or Email protectnwt@gov.nt.ca (8am to 8 pm daily)