The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation is planning to monitor all incoming traffic to Neyaashiinigmiing effective midnight Thursday and will ask those without reason to enter the community to turn back.
The Chippewas of Nawash Council previously passed a resolution to close Sydney Bay Road and will now monitor Coveney’s Road in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
A notice from Chief Greg Nadjiwon stated that travellers will be asked to provide proof of residency, employment proof, or work and repair orders before entering the community. Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation Police will monitor the site for compliance.
Nadjiwon said volunteers will monitor traffic flowing into the community, but they won’t have the authority to turn anyone away.
“We have to do what we have to do,” he said. “It’s community buy-in . . . it’s only basic monitoring. These monitors don’t have the authority to restrict access to anyone other than asking if they really don’t have any business in the community, then could they come back when this blows over.”
Excluded from the restrictions are residents, essential employees, emergency response vehicles, essential inspection/maintenance and repair services, Canada Post, Hydro One, Bell Canada, and GBTEL.
“As you know, throughout Canada and the United States, some of them have had to make a desperate move to lockdown. We hope we never reach that stage, but we’re preparing. We’re not even near that stage now,” Nadjiwon said. “This is Phase 2, we may have to increase the regulations depending on if we’re able to keep the virus out. We’re just trying to do whatever anyone else would do, and doing our part to flatten the curve.”
The move is expected to hurt some local businesses, but Nadjiwon said the safety of the community comes first.
“If everyone buys in the odds go way down,” he said. “We’re living in a new norm . . . we’re trying to ask people to stay grounded. Anxiety is sure to be part of our day. Help a neighbour, reassure each other, keep your distance and do what you can to help stop the spread.”
Nadjiwon said the monitoring of traffic will be in place until further notice.