The health board in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, has given the OK for sister airlines Air Inuit and Canadian North to resume bookings to the region starting August 25.
The new reservations can be for flights on or after August 31.
The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) said the resumption of such flights was the latest step in Nunavik’s reopening after months of travel restrictions were put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
“The resumption of the two airlines’ reservations and booking system on commercial flights shows that the gradual reopening of Nunavik is going very well despite the pandemic,”, said Minnie Grey, executive director of the NRBHSS, in a news release Monday evening. “We appreciate the great collaboration of our airlines in ensuring the safety of Nunavimmiut.”
Before travelling to the region, travellers from the South will have to request authorization from the NRBHSS, and show the document at the airport before being allowed on the plane to Nunavik.
Obligatory 3-ply masks on flights
In their news release Monday, the health authority also said a number of health directives will be in place including obligatory handwashing in the boarding area and before getting on the plane.
Homemade masks and face coverings will not be allowed on the planes. Three-ply procedural masks will be obligitory for the duration of the flights for all passengers 12 years old and over and will be given out at the boarding gate.
The two airlines welcomed the announcement on Monday.
“From the onset of the pandemic, Canadian North has collaborated with NRBHSS and KRG [Kativik Regional Government] with the safety of all Nunavimmiut as our first priority,” said Johnny Adams, executive chair for Canadian North. “We are pleased to support the ongoing, essential transportation requirements of the Nunavik region by resuming our normal reservation channels while continuing to support ongoing health and safety protocols.”
“Air Inuit is pleased to resume its scheduled flights from the south and provide Nunavimmiut with safe air transportation services” , said Pita Aatami, president of Air Inuit.”
Nunavik has a population of approximately 13,000 people, with 14 communities in the region.
Since the start of the pandemic, it’s had a total of 17 confirmed reported cases of COVID-19 in three different communities, with no deaths. There are currently no active infections.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
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Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer
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