Indoor gathering restrictions eased in the NWT

News Releases

Yellowknife — June 29, 2021

The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) is easing indoor gathering restrictions for all Northwest Territories’ residents. 

This change is one of the steps in Emerging Wisely 2021: Step by Step Together released on June 9. With the relaxation of these restrictions, businesses and organizations can resume holding events and carry out operations at near normal capacity levels.

As of today, most events and gatherings with up to 200 people are permitted without any further approvals required. There are some high-risk activities that need additional approvals because they are considered higher risk such as gatherings of more than 200 people; funerals/celebrations of life; live singing; wind instrument performances; indoor dancing; winter sports; and handgames.

For these high-risk activities, organizers and hosts will need to develop a plan that includes additional safety measures for approval by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer. The plan and additional measures will be used to determine how the event can occur as safely as possible. Examples of these safety measures may include mandatory masking, barriers to facilitate physical distancing, targeted screening, improving ventilation, or the use of sanitization stations.

When additional measures are not required, the CPHO recommends that organizers still complete a risk assessment and apply recommended safety measures if appropriate. Please see “level of risk by activity” on the Guidance for Residents page of the GNWT COVID-19 website.

Along with easing restrictions on indoor gatherings, the CPHO has also amended the Public Health Order COVID-19 Directed at Mineral and Petroleum Industry. The amended order has removed the requirement for anyone employed or contracted at a work camp in the mineral or petroleum resources industry to complete 14 days of social distancing before being permitted to travel to the workplace.


“Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to getting back to doing  the things that we love. With Emerging Wisely 2021, we are taking a step-by-step approach to getting through this pandemic in the NWT and we have been moving quickly. I want to thank all who have received your vaccines and encourage all businesses, organizations, and individuals to stay informed about the risks of COVID-19 in your unique situations, and take the precautions you feel are needed.”

- Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories


“We have reached the thresholds that allow for the relaxation of indoor gathering restrictions, and this is because NWT residents have done their part. Thank you. It has been a long 15 months for all of us, and we are now at a point where we can look forward to the elimination of all COVID related public health restrictions. NWT residents and communities are ready to get back to the life that we know and love.”

-Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services of the Northwest Territories

“Today is another important moment in our pandemic response. We continue to ease restrictions as it becomes safe to do so. COVID-19 will not be eliminated, but we are learning how to live with it safely. Let’s not get complacent. Now is the time for NWT residents to take responsibility and be aware of the risks of COVID-19. Please make sure you are informed and continue to use healthy habits.”   

-Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories


Quick facts

·         Research shows that healthy habits work to stop COVID-19. They are like safety nets. When layered together they can create a stable barrier against the disease. It is important to not get complacent. Use these safety measures when you feel it is appropriate:

o   Physical Distancing (2m): keep your close social group consistent, as much as possible. Make informed choices about who and how to interact with each other (consider age, occupation, and health conditions).

o   Masking: COVID-19 spreads in the air far more easily than on surfaces. To protect yourself and others, wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

o   Surface sanitizing: Disinfecting high touch surfaces in your home can kill COVID-19.

o   Hand washing: Do it frequently.

o   Self-monitoring for symptoms: If you develop symptoms or your symptoms get worse, isolate, and call a healthcare provider, and they will give you further instructions. Do not go in without speaking to them by phone first.

o   Get vaccinated if you are eligible

Related links


For media requests, please contact:

Darren Campbell

Acting Manager, COVID Communications

Health and Social Services

COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat