Phase One of Eased Public Health Measures Begins

News Releases

Today, the Northwest Territories (NWT) takes its first careful steps towards a more open society.

As announced on May 12th, the territory needed to complete several essential steps to move into relaxing phase one of eased measures outlined in the Emerging Wisely Plan shared with residents by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) earlier this week.

Today, the territory completed the final essential step by having no community spread for 28 days since the last negative test was collected for the final recovered case. With no community spread, the territory is now implementing an order to ease up on the public health restrictions across the NWT. The order is effective immediately.

NWT residents can expect to enjoy more interpersonal contact, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, as long as physical distance is maintained, and some businesses and organizations can open with new rules. Other phase one activities include outdoor sports clubs and organizations opening with restrictions, and some recreation facilities – including outdoor kitchen shelters and day-use areas in parks opening.

Orders on travel restrictions, essential workers, remote camp-workers, physical distancing of two metres, and the requirement not to participate in activities if you are sick will remain in-place for the foreseeable future. 



“The health and safety of NWT residents is our main priority as the Government of the Northwest Territories. We aren’t out of the woods yet, and as we head into the long weekend, I urge all residents to remember  that we need to work together to keep COVID-19 out of the NWT.  Pleases follow the measures in place and abide by the Chief Public Health Officer’s recommendations as we enjoy this first long weekend with a more open society.”

-Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories 

“Implementing phase one of our Emerging Wisely plan is exciting news and I hope residents across the territory enjoy time with friends and family this weekend that you maybe haven’t been able to see in some time. That being said, I want to remind folks that our Compliance and Enforcement Taskforce will continue to investigate and respond to reports throughout the weekend to ensure compliance with these new orders are maintained. Now, more than ever, we need to work together to keep each other safe.”

-Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services

Quick facts:

  • Here’s how indoor visitation works:
    • Each household can have up to five people they don’t live with come over and be inside their house, to a maximum of 10 people in total inside the house at any time. This is required.
      • It's strongly recommended that in your household, you keep a 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.
    • It’s also strongly recommended that you keep physical distance of two metres in your house as much as you can to protect each other.
    • If you’re having someone over who’s older, has a weaker immune system, or has an illness already, we strongly recommend your house doesn’t have anyone else over while they are.
    • Our message to NWT resident: use your common sense to protect each other while we all get some relief from being cooped up.
  • Certain other indoor gatherings will be allowed to a limit of 10 persons or less – with strict physical distancing measures in-place.
  • Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 persons or less – with strict physical distancing measures in-place.
  • Some organizations will be able to open up – including personal service establishments, massage therapy clinics, chiropractors, museums and art galleries, and others, so long as they put in place the required public health mitigation measures.
  • Outdoor sports, with the exception of rugby, will be able to occur as long as the outdoor gathering limit is maintained
  • Outdoor kitchen shelters and day use areas at parks can be opened. Overnight camping is not permitted at private or publicly-owned campgrounds until phase two.
  • Specific types of mass gatherings will be allowed with capacity and other restrictions in place. For example: farmer’s markets, some recreational facilities, libraries, golf courses, beaches, boat launches, and playgrounds.

Relevant links:

Media contact:

Cabinet Communications

Government of the Northwest Territories