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Mandatory mask enforcement depends on residents: Premier

With masks being mandatory in all public buildings in Yellowknife, Premier Caroline Cochrane called on residents to report people who are breaking the rules.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer made masks mandatory in public meetings in the same announcement where it was announced all schools in Yellowknife, Ndilǫ and Dettah would be closing this week.

“I do have to give credit to a lot of people in the NWT who I’ve seen throughout the months wearing masks, but now masks are mandatory,” said Cochrane during a press conference on Monday.

“Again it’s that we don’t have enough Task Force officers to have one one officer on every person. We are counting on the general public,” she said.

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Cochrane added she expected stores would be turning people away who try to enter without a mask.

“I know nobody likes to be the person to report. However, we’re in a pandemic,” she said. “If you do break the orders on, that is an order. That’s the law.”

“I will be following through with it and saying to everyone, ‘It’s time for people to start abiding by the order, and if not, there will be consequences,’” she added.

The closure of schools was done out of an abundance of caution, according to NWT”s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola.

Kandola said a complete lockdown of Yellowknife was not currently necessary, given that schools have been shut down because of the high number of contacts stemming from the N.J. Macpherson outbreak.

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Kandola added she did not expect this outbreak was “going to last that long”, saying that the measures in place should contain the spread of the virus.

Currently there are 8 active cases in the NWT, all of them in Yellowknife.

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