Misipawistik Cree Nation declares state of emergency, limiting customers in gas station, food store

Misipawistik Cree Nation (MCN) at Grand Rapids announced March 24 that they have declared a state of emergency in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective immediately, no public gatherings of more than five people are allowed, including more than five people at a residence who do not normally live there. The First Nation is also advising against any unnecessary out-of-town travel or hosting people from out of town. Pelican Landing gas station and restaurant is limiting the number of customers to five at a time, while MCN Foods is allowing only 10 customers at once, with children not allowed inside. Both businesses are allowing only one person per vehicle or household inside at one time, while MCN Foods is reserving the hour of 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. every day for customers who are elderly, have health conditions or are otherwise vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Use of the MCN University College of the North regional access centre is also being suspended, including all classes and instructors’ residences.

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“Our chief and council is extremely concerned about the public health risk and on March 12 our Communicable Disease Emergency Health plan was activated,” said MCN Chief Harold Turner in a press release. “Today we passed a resolution to declare a state of emergency.”

Non-essential travel is being restricted for band members and the MCN administration offices are being closed to members of the public. Recreational programming is also cancelled.

“We are basing our plan for COVID-19 on evidence-based information we have received from health professionals,” Turner said. “We are asking band members to help us prevent the introduction of the COVID-19 virus into our area by following the community guidelines until further notice. We are grateful we do not yet have any cases of COVID-19 in Misipawistik Cree Nation. We encourage everyone to take the guidance we have shared to help us protect our community from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will provide updates to our membership on any changes or updates as they occur.”

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