Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Information on Gatherings

Last modified: 
Wed, 04/01/2020 - 16:03

A gathering is when several people get together in a single place, inside or outside, in a way that risks people being close enough to spread COVID-19.

What gatherings should be cancelled?

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) is advising all individuals and organizations to cancel all gatherings regardless of size or number of participants or whether they are held inside or outside.

This includes events like:

  • House parties or get-togethers of any size with those you don’t live with
  • Organized outdoor and indoor events (jamborees, festivals, hamlet days, etc)
  • Religious services/church events
  • Funerals and weddings
  • Recreational facilities/indoors (arenas, pools recreational centre, youth centre, gyms)
  • Bingos/Chase the Ace
  • Community centres

What businesses should close?

The CPHO is also recommending that the following businesses be closed as the nature of their operation will not allow them to have suitable distancing measures in place to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19:

  • Tour Operators
  • Bottle Depots
  • Gyms and fitness centres
  • Museums and Art galleries
  • Bars and night clubs
  • Theatres and movie theatres
  • Buffet style restaurants
  • Personal service establishments (barber, hair salons, massage, nail and other salons)

Objective of Advice

The CPHO recommends physical distancing of 2 metres to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing means limiting the amount of people you come into contact with, which lowers the risk of passing or catching the virus.

Organized gatherings (indoors or outside) are a place where COVID-19 can easily spread. Maintaining a distance of 2 metres significantly reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Businesses that require close contact cannot provide this reduced risk.

Physical distancing of more than two metres apart becomes challenging, healthy respiratory practices may not always be followed, and more bodies with more time near each other means more chance of spread of COVID-19.

Taking action to not hold gatherings of any kind and closing these business operations will help protect all Northwest Territories residents — and especially the elderly and other vulnerable populations.

Who Can I Contact For More Advice?

If your business or event or gathering type is not listed here, you can contact environmental_ to request advice.

Please ensure you provide a phone number, community name and some brief details of your event or business in your request email.

The email address is monitored regularly from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. Public health officials 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

Personal Services Establishments (massage, salons, barbers and tattoo parlors and piercers) should be closed until further notice as they cannot operate and provide for the 2 m separation required to be safe and they by nature require more time than a casual time-limited contact. It is recommended businesses that require clients and staff to have close contact (less than two meters) close at this time or take steps to limit how close persons may be to one another.

Dentists and other emergency medical service providers can provide emergency services following the direction and guidance of their professional organizations and public health.

Essential services - large retail stores (groceries, gas bars and convenience stores) can remain open if they can maintain 2m separations between persons within the facility. 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 use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content frequently.

Other essential businesses should wherever possible limit face to face meeting and contact of any kind. Banks, pharmacies, Liquor stores, Gas stations, restaurants and pubs serving food, and coffee shops should if possible operate with 2 m distance, increased handwashing or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.

Related Information