N.W.T. chief public health officer advises cancelling mass gatherings

The territorial government is recommending against gatherings that could reach 50 or more people. Grocery stores and other larger retail stores are exempt.

Recommends cancelling all gatherings that could reach 50 people

One of the many competitions played at Yellowknife's Long John Jamboree on Great Slave Lake. This year's jamboree was cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns. On Tuesday, the office of the chief public health officer advised against all mass gatherings of 50 or more people. (Long John Jamboree)

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Northwest Territories government is advising the crenellation of all gatherings that could reach 50 or more people.

Grocery stores and large retail stores, such as Canadian Tire and Walmart, are exempt from the recommendation, but hand washing and social distancing is encouraged at these locations. 

There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the N.W.T. as of 3:30 p.m. MT Tuesday.

"Large gatherings are a significant source of spread," reads a news release from the office of the chief public health officer issued Tuesday. 

"Taking action to limit large gatherings will help protect all Northwest Territories residents — and especially the elderly and other vulnerable populations."

At gatherings of less than 50 people, the chief public health officer is advising that the following special measures be taken in order to be considered safe:

  • Ensure that people can be kept two metres apart;

  • Make an adequate supply of hygiene material available (soap, hand sanitizer, paper towel, running water and waste disposal);

  • Direct anyone who isn't feeling well to stay home;

  • And increase the cleaning and disinfecting of commonly used surfaces.

"Remember: hosting gatherings outdoors is always safer," reads the release.

The territorial government says businesses should take steps to limit the number of people on site at any given time. It's strongly encouraging employees and customers to keep a distance of two metres between themselves and others, including in line-ups.  

The government says people who feel sick should not attend gatherings of any size.

Anyone looking to host a gathering, and who is unsure if it will be safe, is urged to contact for advice.