Inuit gov. in Labrador, Canada tells out-of-province travellers to stay away despite ‘Atlantic bubble’

The Nunatsiavut Assembly in the community of Hopedale in Atlantic Canada. The government still wants to discourage out-of-province travel to their region. (Courtesy Nunatsiavut Government)
The government of Nunatsiavut, the Inuit region of the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, is asking out-of-province travellers to refrain from travelling their region even though the Atlantic region as a whole lifted the ban on interprovincial travel July 3.

The premiers of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, lifted the ban Friday after getting COVID-19 numbers largely under control.

There are currently no active cases being reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island. There are three active reported cases in Nova Scotia.

Concerns remain on travel into Inuit communities

However, despite this, the government of Nunatsiavut says it still needs to be vigilant.

A sign on the way into Happy Valley-Goose Bay in May 2020. The town is the main transit hub into Nunatsiavut, the Inuit region in the Atlantic Canadian province of the Newfoundland and Labrador. The Nunatsiavut Government lifted non-essential travel restrictions between their communities on June 3, and from elsewhere in Newfoundland and Labrador on June 8. (Rebecca Martel/CBC)

As of Friday, Nunatsiavut will no longer ask travellers from the Atlantic provinces to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in the region, but it said it still wanted to discourage all non-essential travel to the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area from out-of-province until further notice.

“While it is promising to see the formation of the so-called ‘Atlantic bubble’, we still have some concerns with the movement of people into our communities as we continue to navigate our way through this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nunatsiavut First Minister Tyler Edmunds in a news release.

The Nunatsiavut government continues to ask travellers to their region to self-monitor for symptoms, as well as to respect public health directives like physical distancing, hand washing and wearing masks.

Nunatsiavut’s population of 2,560 is spread out between five communities along the Atlantic coast: Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuit in Canada’s federal penitentiaries overrepresented when it comes to COVID-19, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland joins other Nordic countries in virtual tourism due to pandemic, Yle News

Iceland: Iceland lowers price of on-arrival COVID-19 testing, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: All Russia’s North Pole cruises rescheduled to 2021, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden seen as major source of COVID-19 in Western Finland region, Yle News

United States: Airline shutdown creates new challenges for rural Alaska, The Associated Press

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying an culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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