Tsuut'ina Nation institutes fines for breaking curfew, a safeguard as Calgary COVID-19 cases rise
No cases have been reported on the First Nation but neighbouring Calgary has seen cases near 3,000
Tsuut'ina First Nation has yet to see its first case of COVID-19 but with nearly 3,000 cases in neighbouring Calgary, the reserve is on high alert.
On Saturday, a new emergency curfew law for the First Nation came into effect, granting peace officers and police the power to fine those who venture out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. during the state of emergency, or apprehend them or order them to return home.
The curfew, which has been in place for two weeks, forbids residents or visitors on the First Nation from leaving home unless to travel to and from work, or for an emergency trip to a health-care facility.
A Friday update from Tsuut'ina Nation Emergency Management said that while many have respected the curfew, some have not.
The new law means a fine of $150 for a first offence, $300 for a second, and $500 for a third.
"Chief and Council understand that this may cause an inconvenience to some. However, we must take all steps to prevent COVID 19 from being brought in from the high-risk zone of Calgary. This is a first approach on protecting our borders," a notice posted to the Tsuut'ina Nation's website reads.
A total of 11 people have been tested for COVID-19 on the reserve, with 10 negative and one test result still pending as of Friday.
Three people have tested positive on nearby Eden Valley First Nation, and 2,964 within the Calgary area as of Saturday.
"The reminder today should be that we are now seeing the virus on our doorstep and possibly entering and passing through the community," the update from the emergency management team reads.
- COVID-19 risk to Indigenous communities will rise when provinces ease lockdowns, says federal official
Ottawa has committed $306 million to support Indigenous communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
First Nations across Canada have implemented curfews, lockdowns and checkpoints in efforts to keep residents safe.
Experts have expressed concerns that the pandemic could disproportionately hit Indigenous communities, which could be at higher risk for negative health and economic outcomes.