Signage at the entrance to the Kwakiutl First Nation reserve. (Zoë Ducklow)

Kwakiutl cautiously eases restrictions around COVID-19; Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw to remain locked down

Both First Nations near Port Hardy have no COVID-19 cases, and are prioritizing community safety

The Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw First Nation in Port Hardy is maintaining 24-hour security, limiting access to the Tsulquate reserve for residents and essential workers.

About 10 kilometers south in Fort Rupert, the Kwakiutl First Nation ended security at their entrance points on May 21.

Kwakiutl Council is still asking non-essential travellers to stay away. Removing their security posts was part of the “standing down” procedure Emergency Management B.C. has recommended.

Kwakiutl councillor Margaret McDougall said that since B.C.’s head doctor advised people to “double your bubble,” it would be hard to monitor who was allowed on the reserve.

READ MORE:British Columbians can double their ‘pandemic bubble’ mid-May, but no large gatherings

“Until now it was residents only, but a lot of people here have family who live off the reserve,” McDougall said. “I think our community is doing pretty good, they are very aware of what they need to do to stay safe.”

Signage is posted at the entrance to the reserve informing passersby of the policy, and trail cameras are set up at all entrances.

In Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw, volunteers are still stationed in pairs from the same household at the entrance bridge in eight-hour shifts, ensuring that the lockdown is respected. Crews of 12 work for four days and then rotate.

Band manager Leslie Dickie said they were waiting to see what happened during the May long weekend before making any changes.

“There was so much movement that weekend, it was like the pandemic was over. But looking at the stats, there were no new cases in Vancouver Island in the last 14 days, so that’s a strong indication that people are doing what it takes,” Dickie said.

READ MORE: Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw cancels in-class instruction for remainder of school year

Council and administration will review the situation at the end of May to determine what changes to implement.Bridge security teams will continue for two months, volunteer Evan Henderson estimated.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.



Just Posted

Cowichan RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Tofino mayor urges “kindness” as tourism reopens

Citizens divided as the West Coast gets set to start welcoming visitors again

Island firefighters calm, then rescue mom and child trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Chemainus animal sanctuary needs your vote in nationwide contest

RASTA is up for $5,000 from Nutram; contest runs until May 31

Warning: cancelling bus service to the North Island will compromise public health

Mount Waddington Health Network says transportation primary factor for rural health access

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Pregnant B.C. woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

Michelle Hunter said it was like a horror movie when caught COVID-19

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

Most Read