WINNIPEG -- A First Nation in Manitoba has declared a state of emergency.

Residents of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN), located in Nelson House, have been given notice that the order is in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

 As part of the state of emergency, the community is on lockdown, with exceptions made for essential services.

 The following restrictions are also in effect in the community:

  • A ban on non-essential travel in and out of the community went into effect March 22 at 8 p.m., except for those providing essential services, medical workers, utility providers, designated NCN advisors, the chief and council members and for certain medical emergencies;
  • Everyone arriving at the roadside check-stop will have to fill out a questionnaire to ensure compliance with the non-essential travel ban;
  • All schools and non-essential services have to close;
  • A ban on transporting alcohol into NCN lands went into effect on March 20 at 6 p.m.;
  • No private or public gatherings of more than 50 people;
  • NCN citizens and residents must remain in the community until the chief and council say it’s safe to resume regular activities. NCN residents and citizens can still access their traditional camps by snowmobile unless health officials say to stop; and
  • Anyone travelling to a camp by snowmobile has to report to a First Nations safety officer and saying when they are leaving and returning and who they will be in contact with at the camp. They also must agree in writing to limit their visitors to less than 10 people, that there will be no delivery of products at the camp, and that they won’t use routes at the camp to travel to urban areas.

 According to a news release if people don’t comply it can result in evictions, banishments, fines, removal of benefits or other penalties.

The order will be reviewed weekly.