WINNIPEG -- A Manitoba First Nation has declared a state of emergency and implemented a temporary lockdown after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the surrounding areas.

Sagkeeng First Nation, located 120 kilometres north of Winnipeg, said in a Facebook post it’s taking these steps to ensure the safety of its band members, noting that there are no presumptive or confirmed cases of the virus in the First Nation.

The First Nation also apologized for any inconveniences this may cause surrounding communities.

“Sagkeeng First Nation is not promoting any type of discrimination or prejudices with these safety measures,” it said in the post.

“We do realize that Sagkeeng Businesses will take a loss, however the well-being and overall safety for Sagkeeng Residents is our first priority. We will work on a resolution to allow our relatives from our surrounding communities access to the Sagkeeng Superstore and other businesses.

The First Nation said it will now be enforcing the following measures:

  • A curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., with exceptions for essential and emergency vehicles. Anyone travelling during the curfew for medical reasons will need a medical bracelet or doctor’s release;
  • Non-band members will not be able to enter Sagkeeng until further notice, though non-band members can drive through on Highway 11 during designated times with no stopping on the reserve.
  • Non-band members that live within the First Nation can exit and enter the community; and
  • Non-band members who are Sagkeeng employees will be able to exit and enter using employee cards.

“Sagkeeng Band Members are permitted to enter and exit Sagkeeng during the designated times; however, we encourage that you follow strict safety precautions,” it said. 

“Sagkeeng Members that work outside of the community that require entry after curfew will need clearance to re-enter.”

The First Nation asks that all band members be kind and respectful to checkpoint staff, noting that anyone who doesn’t follow checkpoint rules will be reported to the appropriate authorities.

“Sagkeeng will monitor the situation every 24 hours and will updates if the lockdown is still necessary,” the First Nation said.