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Nunavut to loosen mask rule, some restrictions

Thursday, July 29, 2021 @ 1:35 PM | By Terry Davidson


Nunavut is dropping its mandatory masking requirement as part of the easing of public health restrictions.

On July 28, the northern territory’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, announced the relaxing of COVID-19 rules in all communities as of July 30, at 12:01 a.m.

While masks will no longer be mandatory, they are still being “strongly recommended,” according to a news release from Nunavut’s government.

Also, indoor gatherings in facilities such as community halls will increase to 75 per cent capacity, or 100 people — whichever is less. The theatre and places of worship may also operate under these conditions.

Restaurants and bars may also begin opening their doors at 75 per cent capacity, so long as a distance of two metres is kept between tables and people waiting in line; gyms, fitness facilities and swimming pools may increase group sessions to 25 people.

There are no restrictions when it comes to outdoor gatherings, states the release.

The move comes not long after a COVID-19 outbreak in Nunavut’s capital of Iqaluit was deemed to be over. Iqaluit’s first case was reportedly declared in mid-April and the outbreak resulted in 253 cases.

“On Friday, it will have been more than two weeks since the outbreak in Iqaluit was declared over and there are no active cases in Nunavut,” said Patterson in a statement. “After assessing the risk, it is safe to once again ease public health measures across the territory.”

Still, back on July 22, Nunavut’s minister of health extended the territory’s public health emergency until Aug. 5.  

On June 14, masks were made mandatory in all of Nunavut’s communities — a move referred to by the territorial government as added protection following Peterson’s decision to allow vaccinated travellers to be exempt from 14-day isolation.

In December 2020, masks were reportedly made mandatory in all communities where there were active cases of COVID-19.

As of July 26, 66 per cent of Nunavut’s residents over the age of 12 had received both doses of vaccine, according to government statistics. As of then, there had been 657 confirmed cases of the virus in the territory, but no active cases.

Nunavut has seen four deaths related to COVID-19.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily, please contact Terry Davidson at t.davidson@lexisnexis.ca or call 905-415-5899.