The original PDF version of the Notice is available here
As COVID-19 cases rise in Ontario, many are wondering how to hold gatherings safely throughout the fall season. Officials and medical experts have been emphasizing that the large, extended family gatherings with family members from all over are not a good idea this year. But different kinds of celebrations may still happen in a safe and unique way.
Consider connecting through virtual means with your family this year. Some creative solutions to “going home” this fall can be sending care packages to those who are not in your immediate household or having a “Zoom” dinner with family games. At this point in the pandemic, the best thing to do is keep it as small as possible and really restrict our social gatherings to as few people as possible. Especially now that we have returned to school and work.
While gatherings are generally discouraged by officials and experts at this time, health officials recommend where permitted gatherings take place, ensure to continue maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks if you are in a place where physical distancing is unpredictable or impossible and washing your hands frequently. Opening windows to get a cross breeze can also help improve air circulation but does not replace other measures.
It is important to remember that individuals who get tested have been tested and gain results for a particular point in time. An individual could be incubating a virus, test negative, feel reassured by that and then socialize but then could go on to develop symptoms and infect others.
The steps we have taken to date have brought us to where we are today and it remains crucial that we all know to keep our guard up and remain practicing safety measures to ensure the safety of our ourselves, families, friends and community.
*NOTE: Due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is urging everyone to limit trips outside of home for only essential purposes like work, school, groceries, medical appointments and outdoor physical activity.
FACIAL COVERINGS/MASK WEARING:
Face coverings/masks are now mandatory in all our public buildings. These face coverings help provide a layer of protection, and in conjunction with physical distancing and hand hygiene measures could limit the transmission of the virus. Public Health Measures/Guidelines:
- ● Wear a face covering/mask
- ● Social distance – stay 2 metres apart
- ● Wash your hands with soap for a least 20 seconds
- ● Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available
The potential for any one of us to contract COVID-19 is always there. We could contract it grocery shopping, golfing, eating at a restaurant, anywhere, so as we see the number of cases increase it is vital that each one of us take responsibility and continue to practice all measures put into place to keep ourselves, our families and each other safe.
We are in wave 2 of this pandemic and we may see a series of waves depending on how well we follow the public health measures that are in place. We are not out of this pandemic and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to protect the health and safety of our Citizens.
The actions taken to date by Hiawatha, and by everyone who practice these measures has made the difference and allowed us to re-open our Community and remain safe at the same time. These on-going public health measures will also allow us to remain open and safe during this time of wave 2 of the pandemic. We need to continue to work together to keep the risk of the transmission low and the number of COVID-19 cases low.
The latest data tells us that increased cases of COVID-19 are the result of private and social gatherings. Due to this data the Ontario Government has reduced limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province.
The number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering is:
- ● 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
- ● 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100)
- ● Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together – gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.
The new limits apply to unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
The new limits do not apply to HFN monitored events or gatherings, or other monitored events or gatherings you may attend outside the Community. Such monitored events and gatherings include; staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures, for these businesses and facilities continue to be in effect.
Serious penalties are in place, including setting a minimum fine of $10,000, for people who organize gatherings in private residences that violate social gathering restrictions and recklessly put others at risk.
Please consider seeing only those you currently live with.
FLU CLINIC AND COVID:
We are arranging a drive thru clinic – please see information included.
HUNTING SEASON AND COVID:
Fall is our time for hunting and whether hunting moose, deer or other animals, it is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To keep safe during your hunt:
- ● limit indoor gatherings to 10 or fewer people
- ● maintain 2 metres physical distance from others (which might mean that there may not be space to accommodate up to 10 people at your camp)
- ● wear a mask when 2 metres physical distancing is not possible
- ● avoid sharing common utensils like cookware and coffee pots
- ● thoroughly clean and disinfect commonly touched objects like faucets and door knobs
Hunting and COVID-19 Prevention:
- ● Do not put other hunters or individuals at risk. If you’re sick with COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and self-isolate.
- ● If going to a hunt camp, follow any travel advisories.
- ● Also consider COVID-19 transmission rates in the area where you want to hunt.
- ● Ensure physical distancing on the drive to the hunt camp/site:
- ○ Stick to 2 people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-
- side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver.
- ○ Masks should also be worn on the trip.
- ○ The only exception to this 2-person limit is if you are travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.
- ● Pack supplies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, face coverings/masks, and cleaning/disinfectant supplies.
At Your Hunting Site/Hunt Camp:
- ● Keep hunting groups at one camp to 10 people or less to comply with indoor gathering limits. The exception would be if people can divide into groups of 10 or less, each with its separate accommodations such as tents, trailers, or separate buildings (and each of which would have its own specific indoor gathering limit). In this case, the maximum number of people allowed on the entire camp property would be up to 25 people.
- ● Keep your distance from others, physical distancing is critical to preventing transmission of COVID-19 so always maintain 2 metres (6 feet) from other hunters who are outside your household.
- ● Bring your own tent/trailer in which to sleep and cook. This reduces your exposure to others.
- ● If physical distancing isn’t possible, wear face coverings/masks. This applies at camp or in hunting blinds (especially if enclosed).
- ● Socialize outdoors rather than inside buildings. Being outdoors reduces the spread of COVID-19.
- ● Avoid buffet-style meals. Have people prepare/cook their own meals, ideally in their own tent/trailer. If eating a meal together, have one person make/serve the meal and have them wear a face covering while doing so. Ensure to maintain physical distancing, especially when eating.
- ● Regularly wash your hands with soap and water. If you don’t have access to soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- ● Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
- ● Clean and disinfect common and high-touch surfaces at the camp.
- ● Do not share hunting gear/equipment or personal items (e.g. cigarettes, drinks, playing cards, cutlery).
- ● Track the names and contact information of people in your hunting party, just in case contact tracing is needed should someone get COVID-19.
*NOTE: If someone develops one or more symptoms of COVID-19 while hunting, have a plan to communicate with the group and have the individual return home to self-isolate immediately. Contact Telehealth Ontario for guidance at 1 (866) 797-0000, or contact 911 if symptoms are severe.
HALLOWEEN AND COVID:
This Halloween you may choose to go out and Trick or Treat or stay home and have your own Halloween fun. You may choose to, or not to, hand out treats this year. However you choose to have your Halloween, we wanted to include some ideas to assist you.
Stay at Home Halloween Fun Ideas:
- ● Make spooky snacks at home with your household instead of going out. Try these themes:
- ○ Black and Orange Pairings: Blackberries & clementine segments, jack-o-lantern oranges or fruit cups, orange peppers with dip
- ○ Scary Snacks: carrots poking out of red beet hummus, mozzarella cheese string ghosts, Frankenstein Face (guacamole, black bean tortillas and black olives)
- ○ Pumpkin Party: pumpkin pancakes; pumpkin seeds, pumpkin smoothies (decorate a clear glass with black permanent markers)
- ● Host a virtual Halloween charades games for family and friends.
- ● Plan an outdoor scavenger hunt with those in your household.
- ● Trick-or-treat at home: knock on every door in your house.
Outdoor Trick or Treating:
While there is a limit on social gatherings, there are many ways to have fun this Halloween and be safe. If you choose to trick-or-treat remember to:
- ● Dress for the occasion. Wear a mask and remember a costume mask is not a substitute for a face mask. Remember to dress in bright colours or reflective clothing to be seen while walking in the dark.
- ● Stay in your household group and keep 2 metres apart from anyone not from your household.
- ● Avoid gathering in hallways or doorways. If you can, trick-or-treat outdoors to help maintain physical distancing from others.
- ● Do not eat treats that are homemade or have been repackaged.
- ● Carry hand sanitizer and use frequently throughout the night.
- ● Wash hands or sanitize before eating treats.
- ● Screen for COVID-19 symptoms before going out – stay home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or are feeling ill.
Handing out Treats:
- ● Wear a mask. Get creative with handing out treats! Use tongs or other tools to distribute treats (ex. Hockey stick, witches’ broom, candy slide).
- ● Avoid leaving treats in a bucket or out for trick-or-treaters to pick their own.
- ● Do not hand out homemade treats or repackaged treats.
- ● Screen for COVID-19 symptoms before handing out treats. Avoid handing out treats if have any COVID-19 symptoms or feel ill.
*NOTE: We encourage everyone to set up outside, use a table and set your treats on the table in individual cups or bags and have each “Trick or Treater” take one from the table. This will avoid multiple handling of the treats.
Not Handing out Treats:
- ● Post a sign (included) to let people know – not this year.
WINDOW SIGNS FOR SAFETY:
At the beginning of the pandemic, we have handed out three sheets of coloured paper, green, yellow and red, and asked if you would like to use this paper to place in your window to let us know how you are doing.
- GREEN: means you are okay
- YELLOW: means you need assistance with supplies (ie: groceries, pharmacy pick-up)
- RED: means you are isolating
We have been, and will continue to check for these colours, especially now that we are in wave 2 of this pandemic. If you require new coloured paper, or if you need anything on the interim please call Donna at 705-295-4421.
We also ask our Citizens to check in with family members and neighbors who have mobility/health issues or who may be on self-isolation.
COVID ALERT APP:
Canada’s free exposure notification app is available for download on your smart phone – it can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store. The COVID Alert App helps to break the cycle of infection, by letting people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear.
The App works by:
- ● Using Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones;
- ● A daily check of a list of random codes from people who tell the app they tested positive; and
- ● Sending you a notification if you’ve been near one of those codes in the past 14 days. Your privacy is protected, as the COVID Alert does not use GPS or track your location, and no way of knowing:
- ○ Your location;
- ○ Your name or address;
- ○ Your phone’s contacts.
- ○ Your health information; or,
- ○ The health information of anyone you are near.
In closing, we would like to say “Chi-Miigwetch” to all of you for your patience and kindness during this time. We thank you in advance for your ongoing practice to follow public health measures/guidelines, and the health and safety measures put into place by Hiawatha First Nation.
“Our Citizens and Community remain our first priority and we will work to mitigate risks for best possible outcomes moving forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.”