Anyone entering municipal facilities in Yellowknife no longer has to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19.
Yellowknife’s mayor and council on Monday unanimously voted to lift the requirement at facilities like the library, city hall, multiplex, community arena, and swimming pool.
“I’m just happy to see this being taken away and we can get back to the start of being normal,” Councillor Steve Payne, who has opposed the requirement, said.
The NWT government on Tuesday ended its proof-of-vaccination program and capacity limits for non-essential businesses and organizations, including municipalities. The territory’s chief public health officer, Dr Kami Kandola, will instead issue recommendations to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission in indoor public spaces.
Dr Kandola in late October gave some businesses and organizations a choice whereby implementing proof-of-vaccination requirements for people aged 12 and older allowed larger venue capacities. Otherwise, at the time, no more than 25 people were allowed in indoor public spaces and 50 at outdoor locations.
Yellowknife councillors narrowly approved the proof-of-vaccine option for city facilities in November, with the aim of lifting the policy once the territory eased restrictions.
The decision prompted a contentious debate among not only members of council but residents of Yellowknife, with hundreds writing to councillors ahead of the vote.
NWT businesses, organizations and communities can still keep proof-of-vaccination requirements after Tuesday.
Health and social services minister Julie Green said she plans to lift the territory’s public health emergency, and with it all Covid-19 restrictions, on April 1. A territory-wide masking order in all indoor public spaces remains in place until then.