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Indoor COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted

Indoor COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in the NWT.

Indoor gatherings will now be allowed with up to 200 people without any exemption required, unless it is a high risk activity.

There are some activities considered higher risk that need additional approvals – like gatherings of more than 200 people, funerals/celebrations of life, live singing, wind instrument performances, indoor dancing, winter sports, and hand games.

Organizers for those events will need to submit a plan that includes additional safety measures.

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Indoor COVID-19 restrictions can now be loosened because the territory has reached a 66 per cent fully vaccinated rate. 

That was the benchmark set out in the territory’s updated Emerging Wisely Plan. NWT’s partial vaccination rate is below the benchmark set out – sitting at 72 per cent, but the plan made either benchmark the trigger for loosening indoor restrictions.

Outdoor restrictions were the first to be loosened, followed by self-isolation requirements being lifted – those were changed because the 7-day rolling average for the number of new COVID-19 cases nationwide dropped below 1,000 and Canada’s partial vaccination rate reached 66.8 per cent.

There are still some restrictions in place.

Allowing leisure travel into the NWT will come when the NWT is 75 per cent fully vaccinated for the population aged 18 years and over, and there are less than 1,000 cases reported a day in Canada, and the country is reporting a fully vaccinated rate of between 66 and 75 per cent.

Lifting all restrictions will require a 75 per cent full vaccination rate in the territory and 66 to 75 per cent in the whole of Canada, with the number of daily cases staying below 1,000.

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Lifting all restrictions would also require the total population, including those under 12, to have a partial vaccination rate of 66 to 75 per cent. None of the COVID-19 vaccines as of yet have been cleared for use in children aged 12 years and younger.

The GNWT warned COVID-19 variants of concern could throw off the restrictions loosening schedule. In the event a booster vaccine is needed to protect against variants of concern, more restrictions could be added.

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