Temporary prohibition orders are returning to NWT communities as Covid-19 spreads across the territory.
During the time the orders are in effect, nobody inside the prohibition areas can buy, sell, transport, or drink liquor.
Fort Good Hope, which has seen the highest number of cases in the recent outbreak, brought back a prohibition order from August 24 to September 2 and has another one lined up for September 3 to September 6.
Tulita, the only Sahtu community with no Covid-19 cases, has a temporary prohibition order from August 21 to August 30 and plans to extend it until September 5.
Both communities cited the Covid-19 outbreak as the reason for the requesting their orders, which can only last for 10 days at a time. Enacting permanent restrictions requires a community vote, and can’t happen in a community that has a licensed bar, restaurant, or liquor store.
The orders are signed by the NWT’s minister of finance, Caroline Wawzonek, and declare a liquor prohibition anywhere within 25 kilometres of the hamlet’s office for a 10-day period.
Meanwhile in Tuktoyaktuk, the hamlet’s council requested that the minister “declare that Tuktoyaktuk is a prohibited area during community events occurring over the Labour Day long weekend,” according to the order the hamlet posted to Facebook.
The hamlet’s order starts on August 28 and will last until September 6.
Tuktoyaktuk, like a handful of other communities, announced a nearly identical temporary prohibition order in April of last year due to the pandemic.
The Liquor Act allows communities to quickly request temporary prohibitions “if special circumstances exist in the community that render it advisable to temporarily make the community a prohibited area.”
If the minister sees fit, they can immediately approve such a request.
Contravening the temporary order carries a maximum fine of $2,000 and a possible 30-day jail term.