February 23, 2021
The hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut has declared a local state of emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Mayor Joe Savikataaq, JR announced on the local radio on February 23.
The hamlet is allowed to act or take any means necessary to their state of emergency – The local state of emergency allows municipal governments in Nunavut to act or take any measures it needs to prevent or respond to an emergency or mitigate the effects of the emergency situation.
In Arviat it’s the spread of the Corona virus that led mayor Joe Jr and the council to implement a community wide curfew between 10PM and 6AM, no one except essential workers, hunters or anyone in an emergency situation are allowed to be outside of their properties between the curfew times.
It also means the local convenience stores that usually close down between 11PM and 1AM will need to close down at curfew. The hamlet also hired 4 patrol officers including the local bylaw officers to keep the roads clear and the local RCMP to keep the locals from breaking the curfew rules. The hamlet says people breaking the rules could face fines and that the 24 hour community monitoring was their last resort and must be done to prevent further spreading of COVID19.
The hamlet of Arviat says the state of emergency will be effective until March 02nd and under the government of Nunavut’s emergency measures act the state of emergency expires seven (7) days after it is made, unless it is sooner cancelled by the Minister or terminated or extended by the municipal council. The hamlet council and the mayor will decide after a week to determine if the emergency needs to be extended.
Community members happy – Despite being in lockdown since November 2020 which counts to more than 100 days since the first COVID19 was confirmed in Arviat, the community members are posting on social media saying how grateful they are for the mayor and council’s action. Some messages like “I like how Hamlet of Arviat is doing! A great big THANK YOU! ” and “it was time for something to be done“.
Other community initiatives the municipal government is doing is spreading positive messages to and from community members. Including supporting those affected by the corona virus by offering them a contact information to ask for hamlet support. But it doesn’t stop there, the community facebook page Hamlet of Arviat is sharing positive messages from locals like “Look at how far you’ve come… and then keep going”.