Covid restrictions in the NWT are about to be dramatically reduced.
Starting tomorrow, March 1st, travel requirements for self-isolation will be reduced, gathering restrictions will end, as well as proof of vaccinations for businesses. These changes mean that travelers entering the NWT will no longer be required to self isolate once they arrive, and anyone will be allowed to travel to the Territories regardless of purpose or vaccination status.
Travelers will still be required to fill out a Self-Isolation Plan (SIP). This measure will remain in place so that the Chief Public Health Officer can determine where the greatest risk of COVID-19 importations exists, and will allow them to plan accordingly in the event that cases rise again.
The public health risk analysis used by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) to create Public Health Orders is no longer focused on decreasing transmission of COVID-19. As the Omicron variant generally causes less severe disease than previous variants, the focus is instead being shifted to protecting those who are at higher risk of severe outcomes. It is important to note that two vaccine doses plus a booster shot has proven effective at reducing the severity of illness from a COVID infection.
The GNWT is approaching the removal of pandemic mandates in a step-by-step process, and will continue to monitor the virus’ presence in the region. They will also be keeping an eye on any effects on the general population, as well as any strain these decisions may put on the public health system.
UPDATE: A minor change has been made to these plans, though it does not affect the overall goal.
Starting on March 1, 2022, proof of vaccination, testing, and enhanced personal protective equipment will only be required for employees and contractors who directly work with vulnerable sectors, in federally regulated industries, and in workplaces where there are other vaccination policies or requirements. All other employees will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination.
The public health risk analysis used by the CPHO to justify restrictions is no longer focused on decreased transmission of COVID-19; the focus is instead targeted at protecting those who are at higher risk of severe outcomes.