The NWT government has reintroduced a pandemic checkpoint at the Alberta-NWT border just south of Fort Smith.
The territorial government said the checkpoint was being restored “in response to concerns related to increased summer traffic.”
The Smith’s Landing First Nation – which lies on the Alberta side of the border, but whose residents use Fort Smith for goods and services – said its members would be allowed to continue moving across the border “unencumbered.”
Smith’s Landing said in a statement the checkpoint was being restored “due to our community being accessible by river from Fort Chipewyan and beyond.”
While there is no all-season road link from Fort Smith to Fort Chipewyan, the NWT can be reached from northern Alberta communities via rivers like the Peace River and Slave River.
“Public health officers will be present to monitor those persons entering at the border for travel within the Northwest Territories,” the NWT government said of the reintroduced checkpoint.
The Fort Smith border had been considered low-risk as, unlike Highway 1, it isn’t a recognized entry point for large volumes of traffic from south.
Alberta has reported more than 7,000 cases of Covid-19, around 500 of which remain active.
Of those, 17 cases were considered active as of Sunday in the “north zone” of Alberta, which spans most of the province north of Edmonton. Data for individual communities is not available.