Six Nations council asks businesses to close or reduce hours to help stop spread of COVID-19

·2 min read

Amid an ongoing spike in COVID-19 that claimed another life on Friday, Six Nations of the Grand River elected council has decided to close some government departments for two weeks and has asked non-essential businesses to follow suit.

“This is in direct response to the high case numbers of COVID-19 here at Six Nations,” elected council said in a statement announcing the closure, which will be in force until March 19 and possibly beyond.

Public buildings are now closed to residents, and government services will be limited to “urgent needs only.”

Six Nations is contending with 114 active cases of COVID-19 and has one of the highest per capita rates of the disease in the province.

Public health announced on Friday that a band member succumbed to the disease, the fourth COVID-related death since Feb. 2 and the fifth overall.

No information was provided about the deceased.

Four band members were in hospital as of Thursday.

“We must all come together to ensure that we don’t lose any more community members to this virus,” elected council said in a statement.

“This past year has been incredibly difficult for Six Nations, but we must continue to persevere and protect one another.”

To underscore the message that residents need to stay home to stop the spread of the virus, elected council has asked non-essential businesses to close for two weeks, and for essential businesses to limit their opening hours to between noon and 6 p.m.

Council said the closure will not see the return of physical barriers and checkpoints that were put up in the pandemic’s early days to control access to the reserve.

Six Nations Health Services has identified large gatherings as one source of infection, with residents disregarding pleas from public health not to get together with people outside their household.

The situation has reached a point where public health recommends residents wear masks inside their own homes to protect seniors and other vulnerable family members.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator