Temporary gathering restrictions extended, community transmission in Fort Smith and Inuvik

News Type: 
Past COVID-19 Advisories

YELLOWKNIFE, January 18, 2022 – The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) is extending the temporary territory-wide gathering order until January 30, 2022. The Public Health Order is being extended to allow more time for COVID-19 cases in the NWT to decrease. According to modelling, the CPHO expects cases to peak in the territory in the next week.

This order enforces the following restrictions:

Households will be limited to no more than 10 people indoors at one time with a maximum of five (5) non-household members allowed.

Establishments that serve alcohol (ie: bars, lounges, restaurants) will be limited to six (6) people per table with no mingling of guests.

The following high-risk activities will be suspended and will not be considered for approval by the OCPHO at this time, even if additional safety measures are applied.

  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Playing of wind and brass instruments
  • Traditional hand games
  • Contact sports
  • High intensity fitness classes (gyms can remain open)
  • Winter sports (ie: curling, hockey, figure and speed skating and broomball)
  • Swimming

Recommendations and community transmission

The following communities are currently seeing significant increases in cases as well as community transmission. This means cases have not peaked and will likely continue to increase.

  • Inuvik
  • Fort Smith

Therefore, the following recommendations are being made for Inuvik and Fort Smith:

  • Non-essential travel both within and outside the NWT is not recommended for residents.
  • Employers allow employees to work from home, if possible.
  • Schools switch to remote-learning.

These recommendations are intended to limit interactions between employees, students and residents to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the NWT. Slowing the spread can help reduce the impact on services such as healthcare, education and critical infrastructure like power water, sewer and transportation. Critical public safety and infrastructure support who will require exemptions from isolation can contact cpho@gov.nt.ca

These recommendations have been in place for other NWT communities that are now seeing cases peak or decrease. Therefore, the above recommendations are being stood down for the following communities beginning January 24:

• Aklavik

• Behchokǫ̀

• Délı̨nę

• Fort Providence

• Hay River

• Whatì

• Yellowknife, including Ndilǫ and Dettah

Isolate in place

Most people who get COVID-19 will not need hospitalization. Most people can recover at home or the residence where they are staying when they become ill. It is important to isolate in place during this outbreak. The Omicron variant is highly contagious. Therefore, any travel out of a household to another residence or accommodation is likely to increase the likelihood of the COVID-19 spreading to other community members. Please consider this before deciding to travel. If you are hosting friends or family from another community in your home, be prepared to isolate with them as household contacts if they are required to isolate while they are staying with you.

Persons may direct inquiries about public health orders to ProtectNWT at protectNWT@gov.nt.ca or call 8-1-1 (in the Northwest Territories) or 1-833-378-8297. Full details and copies of the order will be available on the GNWT COVID-19 website under the Current Public Health Orders.

Relevant Links

NWT COVID-19 Dashboard

GWNT COVID-19 website

Care in the home for people with COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics and Bookings


All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories.

Media Contact

Communications, COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories