The limit for outdoor and indoor gatherings has increased to 50 and 10 people, respectively, Dr. Michael Patterson announced during Monday’s GN press conference in Iqaluit. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

Dr. Michael Patterson unveiled an increase in both outdoor and indoor gatherings during Monday’s GN press conference.

Effective today, up to 50 people may gather outdoors, while indoor gatherings may include up to 10 people. In private dwellings, this means 10 guests in addition to those who reside there, Patterson clarified.

For a facility, the limit is 50 people or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is less. This is applicable to places of worship conference facilities, community halls, rental meetings spaces and gatherings organized by governments, municipal corporations or regional Inuit organizations.

Social distancing must be maintained for all gatherings, said Patterson.

Today marked the third biweekly announcement for Nunavut’s reopening plans during Covid-19. The next announcement regarding easing restrictions is scheduled to take place on July 13.

Nunavut Essential Workers Wage Premium expands

The GN is expanding its Nunavut Essential Workers Wage Premium program to include more sectors. As of today, employees who earn less than $25 per hour may be eligible for an increase of up to $5 per hour within the following sectors: essential infrastructure, transportation, food, accommodations, retail and professional services.

The GN is committing to fund employers in eligible sectors so they can pay their employees more.

This program was launched on June 1, but, at that time, it only included essential workers in the health and social services as well as licensed daycares.

When the program was initially launched in early June, “we were anticipating a little bit higher of an uptake,” said Finance Minister George Hickes,

Recently, the expanded sectors were made possible through funding negotiations with the federal government.

“We’re allowed to open it up the parameters a little bit more so that we can give a positive impact to people that are on the lower-wage spectrum,” explained the minister.

Hickes said “we can go up to approximately $4 million” for the program.

The funding is retroactive from May 1 and lasts 16 weeks. For more information visit https://www.gov.nu.ca/finance.

Self-isolation hubs

From March to June 12, $5,904,928 million has been spent on self-isolation hubs.

Since March, the hubs have been set up in select southern cities as a precaution against Covid-19. In most cases, Nunavummiut must undergo a 14-day mandatory isolation period before returning to the territory.

Patterson said there are four criteria that need to be addressed before self-isolation hubs can close.

There needs to be “significant improvement in diagnostic capacity in territory,” where the turnaround time is similar to southern counterparts.

Presently, the average turnaround time for testing in Nunavut is six or seven days, explained Patterson, adding in the south it is between two to four days.

Another factor is “significant improvements in community transmission in southern areas that Nunavummiut typically travel through,” said the chief public health officer.

However, since the curve for the number of infections is flattening in southern Canada, “there’s a reason to be optimistic at this time,” he added.

The last two criteria are effective treatment and a vaccine for Covid-19, said Patterson, noting they “are completely out of our control.”

As of today there are still no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the territory. However, 140 people are still under investigation for the coronavirus.

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Rajnesh Sharma

Rajnesh Sharma is a Canadian journalist, who has extensively travelled the world to experience various cultures. She has lived and worked internationally over the past decade, meeting and interviewing...

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