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COVID-19: Hiawatha First Nation to not allow visitors from designated red zones into businesses

Hiawatha First Nation says residents from red-zones for COVID-19 won't be permitted to enter businesses. Hiawatha First Nation

Hiawatha First Nation says it will begin restricting access to many services to anyone in a designated red-zone as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 colour-coded restrictions system.

Hiawatha First Nation Chief Laurie Carr said while the First Nation won’t be utilizing checkpoints entering the community as it did earlier in the year, people will be asked where they are from. Access will not be permitted to areas such as the community’s restaurant, gas bar and store if a resident after a COVID-19 check states they are from an area that’s in a red-zone — the highest level short of a lockdown.

Read more: More regions classified as ‘red zones’ in Ontario after coronavirus thresholds lowered

“Hopefully we don’t have to get to a point of asking people for their driver’s licence,” said Carr during Peterborough Public Health’s media conference on Wednesday.

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Carr said despite community security, closed public areas and posted no loitering signs, there were still many people from current “hot spots” who tried to visit the First Nation which is 20 kilometres south of Peterborough along Rice Lake, a popular fishing area.

She said the latest step is an extension of current efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the First Nation of 235 people which has many elderly residents

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“It’s continuing what we are doing except at this point we need to limit … we need to go back,” she said. “We went to Stage 3 but we need to go back and adopt some Stage 2 processes.”

Wireless debit may be an option for some services red-zone visitors could utilize, she said.

Read more: How decolonizing public health has helped Indigenous communities control COVID-19

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“Perhaps someone could use that to get gas, but at this point we don’t have that (wireless debit),” said Carr.

Carr also noted the community has also halted in-person meetings and some services which had resumed in September.

 

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