Hiawatha First Nation Stage #3 Re-Opening – Update #10

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Aaniin Citizens,

Our Stage 3 Re-Opening process started on August 28, 2020, as we move further into Stage 3, we would like to say “Chi-Miigwetch” for your patience.

All of our staged re-openings have been done with control measures put in place to ensure the health and safety of our Citizens and Community. We continue to work on these measures to be able to expand on our re-openings. Our stage 3 re-opening included:

  • ● Businesses hours can return to their regular (pre-covid) hours.
  • ● Child Care Centre will maintain current operations.
  • ● Old Railroad Stop (ORRS) Restaurant will open for inside dining with strict guidelines in place.
  • ● PSW’s will resume regular client schedule with strict guidelines in place.
  • ● Gym will open with limited hours and strict guidelines in place to ensure the safety of all gym users. Proper signage, user protocol, sanitation guidelines and air filtration units will be utilized.  Please contact Matt Pritchard for appointments or Lynn Wilford for further information.
  • ● A support document for funeral planning during COVID-19 will become available.
  • ● Administration and Health Offices will open by appointment only (September – planning in process).
  • ● Church will re-open with strict guidelines in place.
  • Monitored gatherings of up to 100 people outdoors will require approval in HFN public areas.
  • Monitored gatherings of up to 20 people indoors will require approval in HFN Public Buildings. We understand that the Province has stated 50 people, however we do not have a building available that can host 50 people safely (socially distanced).

Remaining Closed for the Summer/Fall Season:

  • ● Boat Launch to general public.
  • ● Beach to general public.
  • ● Playgrounds.
  • ● Ball Diamond to general public.
  • ● Tent & Trailer Park for season.

Open/Continued Openings:

On September 14, 2020 we re-opened our Administration and LIFE Services buildings with controlled measures in place. Our Staff are on a staggered work schedule, and office visits must be scheduled/by appointment. Visitors must be wearing a mask and will be screened upon entry, and you will be accompanied by the Staff that you are visiting to their office.

The businesses and offices have health and safety measures in place, and must be followed by everyone who access these businesses and offices. The safety measures are indicated by signage throughout the spaces, however should you have any questions or concerns please let us know. Should you not comply with the safety measures in place you will not be served and will be asked to leave, this is for the safety of our staff, families, and the Community at large.

The Gym re-opened on August 31, 2020 by appointment only with our Fitness Trainer. We recognize the need for the space to be open and have a safety plan which is being finalized to allow for the gym to open up further to all of our Citizens. We plan to have this in place by October 5, 2020, this allows time for all safety equipment and measures to be ordered and installed. This plans success is predicated on everyone doing their part to pre-screen, sanitize and disinfect. Please wait for the official protocol to be released to the Community.

Social Gatherings:

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 is reducing limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province. These new limits are effective immediately – see below:

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, or other monitored events or gatherings held in 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.

Social Circles:

A close group of up to 10 people who can interact without physical distancing is still in place. 

Your social circle

  • ● Start with your current circle. These include the people you live with or who regularly come into your household. 
  • ● If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including another household, family members or friends. 
  • ● Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle.  

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’re near.

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 there at all times. As we see the number of cases increase it is vital that each and every one of us take responsibility and continue to practise all measures put into place to keep ourselves, our families and each other safe.

Public Health has stated we are either entering into a wave 2 or we will see a series of waves depending on how well we follow the public health measures that are in place. Either way, 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. These on-going public health measures will also allow us to remain open during this time of rising COVID-19 cases. We need to work together to keep the risk of the transmission low and the number of COVID-19 cases low.

In closing, we would like to say “Chi-Miigwetch” to all of you for your patience and kindness during this time of continuous re-opening of our Community. We would also like to thank everyone for your input during our re-opening stages, your input has been valuable and provided us with direction and we will continue to strive to meet the needs of our Citizens and Community. 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.”