Government of the Northwest Territories Releases Holiday Guidelines for the NWT

News Releases

Yellowknife — December 15, 2020

With the risk of COVID rising during the holiday season, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has released Holiday Guidelines to help Northwest Territories (NWT) residents and communities celebrate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidelines are based on Public Health Orders and include best practices for making the season merry while protecting ourselves and each other.

Key guidance on celebrating this holiday season includes:

·       If anyone in your household has travelled outside the NWT within the last 14 days, everyone in your household must self-isolate. This is the best way to prevent outbreaks.

·       Educate yourself and watch for COVID-19 symptoms. If you are feeling unwell, even if your symptoms are minor, cancel get-togethers and connect in ways other than in-person.

·       If you are required to self-isolate, do not host others or attend gatherings until your self-isolation period is complete. Ask guests who are required to self-isolate to stay home and connect virtually instead.

·       Consider options such as video calls or video-sharing to keep your physical circle small, while staying connected with friends and family virtually.

·       If you are hosting a holiday dinner, remember the NWT’s indoor gathering limits: you may have 5 people in addition to your household members, up to a maximum of 10 people, indoors at any time.

·       At meals, make sure guests are physically distanced and do not share glasses or cutlery.

·       Avoid physical greetings such as kissing and clinking glasses. Elbow taps and virtual hugs are fine.

·       Other NWT gathering limits:

o   Indoor public spaces (i.e. community or banquet halls): up to 25 people with physical distancing, hand-washing, and enhanced cleaning measures in place.

o   Outdoor spaces: up to 50 people with physical distancing by household and handwashing.

·       Consider always wearing a mask whenever you are in any a public space.

·       Avoid Christmas carolling and other door-to-door festivities this year.

·       Worship services should not exceed the maximum allowable number of parishioners. Consider virtual options.

·       If you plan to visit a family member in continuing care or hospital, follow all visitor policies carefully. The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority provides guidelines for these facilities. Non-medical masks are mandatory.


Full Guidelines are available on the GNWT’s COVID-19 response website (link below), including a print-ready document.



“We know the holiday season will look different this year in our territory and around the world. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic mean we cannot travel and gather as family, friends and community in our usual manner. With creativity and good humor, however, we can all find COVID-safe ways to meaningfully celebrate this beautiful season.”

- Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services


Quick facts

·       The risk of COVID-19 infection is much higher over the holidays than any other point during the pandemic.

·       Gatherings where many different people mix are a significant source of recent outbreaks across Canada. The holiday guidelines are designed to help limit these risks – but there will never be no risk.


Related links

·       Holiday Guidelines for the Northwest Territories (print-ready guidelines available)

·       Self-Isolation Planning


For media requests please contact:

Mike Westwick

COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat

Government of the Northwest Territories