The Town of Inuvik is closing its offices as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, but councillors stopped short of declaring a voluntary lockdown in light of the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer's (OCPHO) latest announcement about cases in the community.
In a press release Jan. 18, the OCPHO said there is community spread in Inuvik, and they are currently seeing a "significant increase" in cases in the Beaufort-Delta community of about 3,300 people.
The same is true of Fort Smith, in the South Slave.
Inuvik's mayor, Clarence Wood, says there will be someone at the town office answering phones and services like garbage disposal will continue.
The recreation complex will remain open with reduced activities, but the fitness centre will be closed.
Vaccinations not a requirement for staff
"We're advising our staff to get vaccinated, but it's not a requirement right now," Wood said. "Probably should be, but not at the present time."
Wood said he and his wife have received both COVID-19 shots and a booster.
At 71, he says he's had no side effects.
"Like, I haven't grown a third arm or another ear. If I can get vaccinated, anybody can."
The OCPHO is recommending students remain at home for now, in both Fort Smith and Inuvik.
"I was glad to see the school shut-down again," Wood told Northwind host Wanda McLeod. "Even though it was only open for two days. I think that was a good move."
The OCPHO is also continuing to recommend that employers in Inuvik and Fort Smith allow staff to work from home, and that people in those communities cancel any plans to travel within or outside the territory.
Wood says he knows people are tired of COVID-19 restrictions, but he has faith in the people of Inuvik.
"I'm pretty sure that the residents will follow the restrictions and we'll get this thing over with."