The territorial government says it has carried out a large number of investigations into vehicles with out-of-territory plates during the pandemic, but pressed no charges.
Residents across the NWT have used the presence of licence plates from southern provinces as a potential indicator of someone disobeying travel restrictions related to Covid-19.
Though no firm numbers were given, a Wednesday statement from the NWT government said “the many incidents we have investigated” related to licence plates “have not resulted in a charge.”
The territory said it appreciated “the vigilance of residents” who reported out-of-territory plates, adding “it’s heartening to see so many joining the push to keep our territory safe.”
But the statement continued: “Folks seem to be following the rules.”
The territory reiterated that anyone is currently allowed to come to the NWT to work, live, or study (though travel within the territory for leisure purposes, widely interpreted to mean tourism, remains prohibited).
“Like your friends or neighbours who may have travelled down to Alberta or BC recently, they must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival with very few exceptions,” the statement read.
“They are being provided with direction to head straight to their place of isolation or to an isolation
centre. They are told that if they do need to stop for something essential like gas, they must keep
strict physical distance. And in the case they don’t show up at an isolation centre, we are able to
follow up because of the information we collect.
“Once someone has completed their self-isolation period, they are allowed to travel within the territory just like you,” the statement added. “So be kind to each other – because no matter where we’re from, we’re all facing this pandemic together.”
The NWT government did, however, list four concerns it found “particularly troubling” with regard to people entering or re-entering the territory.
The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer asked for residents to report any of the following four issues:
- Not practising physical distancing on the way to self-isolation, such as in gas stations
- Not following self-isolation protocols
- Misrepresentation of purpose, such as people indicating they are in the NWT to work but then going on sightseeing trips to communities
- Entering communities and socializing while on the way to self-isolate
The territory asked residents to politely remind people of the rules if they feel comfortable doing so in such a situation, or else call 1-833-378-8297 or email ProtectNWT@gov.nt.ca.
Meanwhile, the NWT government said it had issued one additional fine in the past week related to Covid-19 public health orders, bringing the total number of fines so far to eight.
On July 22, an individual in the South Slave was issued a ticket worth $1,725 for failing to follow self-isolation protocols. No further details were given.
As of Tuesday, the territory said there were 1,165 people self-isolating in the NWT. Another 1,654 self-isolation plans were awaiting approval.
The NWT has so far had five confirmed cases of Covid-19. The last case was confirmed in early April, and all five patients recovered.