All Mass Gatherings 50 People or Over Should Be Cancelled

News Type: 

YELLOWKNIFE 17 March 2020 – To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of NWT is advising all individuals, organizations, and businesses that they should cancel all mass gatherings which could reach over 50 people.

Large retail or grocery stores are exempt from the 50 person-requirement. The remaining guidance on hand-washing and physical distance still apply.  

Additionally, if you are holding a gathering of less than 50 people, the following measures must be available to be considered safe:

  1. The ability to keep two metres between people.
  2. Adequate supply of hygiene material (i.e. paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, running water, waste disposal).
  3. The direction that anyone who is not feeling well must stay home.
  4. Increased cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces used often.

Remember: hosting gatherings outdoors is always safer.

Objective of Advice

Large gatherings are a significant source of spread. Physical distancing of more than two metres apart becomes challenging, healthy respiratory practices may not always be followed, and more bodies mean more chance of spread. Taking action to limit large gatherings will help protect all Northwest Territories residents — and especially the elderly and other vulnerable populations.

Who Can I Contact For More Advice?

If you’re looking to host a gathering and you are unsure whether yours will be safe, you can contact for advice.

The email address is monitored regularly from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. Public Health staff will get back to you with advice as soon as they can.

Important Note

If you feel sick, you should not go to any gathering of any size — stay home.


If you develop fever, cough, or other flu-like symptoms during this time period, contact the following:

They will talk to you about your symptoms, and advise you what to do next. Do not go in without calling.

If you develop severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing call 9-1-1.

Implications for Businesses

It is recommended businesses take measures to limit how many people are in an establishment at any given time.

They should also strongly encourage employees and customers to keep a distance of two metres between each other, including in line-ups, wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently, or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.

More information:


For more information contact:

Mike Westwick  
Manager, Communications (COVID Response)  
Health and Social Services