The territorial government says it’ll be opening the borders to tourists starting in March.
Despite the change, travellers will still need to submit an isolation plan, which is likely to be approved regardless of vaccination status.
However, vaccination status will determine whether travellers will need to self-isolate when they arrive.
“When the order change comes into effect, requirements for anyone who travels to the NWT will be consistent with those of NWT residents,” reads a news release.
These requirements outline various rules and exceptions — especially for children between 5 and 11 — when returning from travel.
For example, non-fully vaccinated individuals must self-isolate for seven days, but can reduce that time to six days with a negative test “from a clinic or health centre.” However, residents seeking to get tested have recently been turned away and given at-home tests instead. It’s not clear whether at-home tests will be enough to shorten isolation time for travellers.
At-home tests are also being given out at the Yellowknife airport. It’s not clear how travellers will be receiving tests — if at all — if they are driving into the territory.
CKLB asked whether travellers can use at-home tests to shorten self-isolation and whether they will receive at-home tests when they drive into the NWT.
Public health had the same response for both questions: essentially, details are still to come.
Public health officials have said they expect to ease all restrictions and lift the public health emergency in the spring, but have not given a specific date of when that is.
“All travellers will be required to abide by the current Public Health Orders in place when they arrive, such as mandatory masking, gathering limits, isolation and self-isolation as necessary,” reads the release.
Earlier this week, Dr. Andre Corriveau, the deputy public health officer, said there were no specific targets for ending the public health emergency, only that there is a downward trend in the daily case count.