In a response to the letter that was sent to her by the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce about easing restrictions in the NWT so that businesses can plan ahead, Premier Caroline Cochrane says the GNWT does not currently have enough information to make a decision that big right now.
Cochrane says the GNWT doesn’t know the effectiveness of vaccines on transmission of the virus; when the vaccine will be approved to be administered to everyone; and how well vaccines protect against the emerging variants of concern.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel. But emerging from public health measures was never going to be a straight line.
Cocharne says new issues have come up since the pandemic first began that the GNWT couldn’t anticipate, like variants of the virus, and the approach must reflect the rapidly emerging evidence.
“There are still important variables we are tracking as we structure a way forward that aligns with the scientific evidence.”
Cochrane does however say the GNWT understands the strain these public health measures are putting on Northern businesses and is doing what they can to assist.
“We recognize the NWT’s business community has been adaptive and resilient during the pandemic response and have played a critical role in keeping NWT residents and communities safe.”
Cochrane says the Chief Public Health Officer has committed to updating the Emerging Wisely plan over the next month.
“We’re working hard to give every resident and business the best opportunity for success and ensure businesses have the information they need in a quick and effective manner.”
Cochrane says the GNWT will continue to work with the Chamber and its members to assist them when the updated plan is released.