It appears that, at least for now, Covid-19 has been kept out of Nunavut. Now the territorial government is tasked with helping Nunavummiut recover from the economic downturn and bringing life back to normal.
The GN has recently come out with its strategy to peel back the public health measures layer by layer with a strategy called Nunavut’s Path.
The scant 11-page document released by the government states that based on its ability to respond to an outbreak, the status of Covid-19 in the territory and the situation in our neighbouring jurisdictions, the GN will either ease restrictions, keep them put or add more restrictions.
These decisions will be made every two weeks by the chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson.
The document also lists activities in three tiers of assessed risk: low, medium and high. In the low category are day cares and “workplaces.”
Theatres and courthouses are medium risk while activities such as community feasts are high risk.
As the government began reducing restrictions June 1 with the opening of parks, daycares and in-territory travel, there are still more questions than answers.
What this plan lacks more than anything is structure. It is clear in its simplicity, that when the government feels it is safe to lift restrictions it will, but this is not a strategy Nunavummiut can plan for.
Although some businesses are clearly identified in the three categories of risk assessment, when the territory will be able to handle high risk activities as opposed to the medium is unclear, or which activities in the medium-risk category will be allowed first or if all those activities will become allowed at once is unknown. And when it refers to “workplaces” in the low-risk category, what exactly are those?
The government is asking Nunivummiut to blindly trust it and while other provinces and territories have structured and detailed approaches to lifting restrictions, the government is saying Nunavut does not need a detailed plan.
As some people and businesses have started to rely on relief funds from various levels of government to keep the lights on, being able to plan for reopening or getting back to work is of the utmost importance.
Currently, people will have to wait every two weeks on bated breathe to see if they fit into the government’s reopening plan.
There is faith that the people in charge of handling this pandemic know what they are doing and they clearly are taking this pandemic seriously, but if Nunavut’s path is clouded in a fog of uncertainty, that trust is shaken.
There are still hundreds of new cases daily in Canada and a fracture in the proverbial dam could lead to a flood of cases in the North.
Prudence is required, but the plan the government put forth is a non-starter.
It is clear that borders must stay closed but anyone looking for a hard date as to when the territory will get back to normal will be left in the dark, despite there not ever being a confirmed case of Covid in Nunavut.