A Neyaashiinigmiing Halloween: How to Stay Safe While Enjoying a Spooky Holiday

COVID-19 Considerations for Halloween

This information has been compiled to provide guidance on how to enjoy a safe Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic. How we celebrate has a big impact on the level of risk we face. Being aware of the differences can help you celebrate Halloween as safely as possible. We have prepared some suggestions to spread the fun, but not the virus!

Know and Adhere to Gathering Limits

On September 19, 2020 the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Public Health Measures Table, reduced the limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the province. The new limit on 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).

Celebrating at Home (Low Risk Activity)

  • Host your own monster mash outdoors.  Include only those monsters from your social bubble.
  • Make your own spooky treats like clementine jack-o-lanterns, monster mix, or ghostly cookies.
  • Invite your kids to help with your preparations. Decorating, making a Halloween music playlist, carving pumpkins, painting decorations, making paper chains and other crafts are great activities for all ages.
  • Set up a scavenger hunt filled with tricks and treats for your social bubble, inside or outdoors.
  • Pick out some Halloween themed books to read together with your kids.

Community Members giving out Halloween treats (Moderate Risk Activity)

  • It is strongly recommended that you do not hand out Halloween candy from your front door. The door is an area where multiple people may touch the same surfaces and is a high risk area for any virus, especially COVID-19, to spread.
  • Instead, set up a trick or treating station outside your home, just inside your open garage door, or outside in your driveway.  Maintain a physical distance of two meters from visitors. Setting up a table can help with this. Provide hand sanitizer at your station.
  • Portion treats out ahead of time in baggies to allow for touchless trick-or-treating.  When trick-or-treaters arrive, direct them to take a bag without handling any others.
  • Do not provide homemade treats. Please hand out pre-packaged items.
  • In between visitors, clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces. 

Going Door to Door (High Risk Activity)

  • Try to maintain physical distance from others while trick-or treating.
  • Choose a costume that makes it easy to also wear a proper mask or face covering.  Make sure your mask fits well, covers your nose, mouth, and chin, and does not have open air holes.
  • Wash your hands before trick or treating, when you return home, and before snacking.  Bring your hand sanitizer with you and use it when appropriate.
  • The COVID-19 virus does not survive indefinitely on surfaces. As a precaution, set aside any treats collected for 24 hours.  Have some ready-to-enjoy favourites set aside for when you return home.
  • Do not accept or offer homemade Halloween Treats: candy apples, popcorn, etc.

Help make a difference:

  • Maintain physical distance of at least two meters from people not in your household or social bubble.
  • Wear a face mask in indoor and outdoor public spaces where physical distancing is a challenge.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. 
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Practice good hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face).
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces often.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Get tested if there is a possibility you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Enjoy a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Updated Forms for Guests to Neyaashiinigmiing

By resolution of the Council, as of October 3, 2020, Resident and Non-Resident Band Members may bring guests to visit in Neyaashiinigmiing without requiring an access letter.

Visitor Information Forms must be completed by all guests prior to entry. Guests may bring completed forms with them to the community entrance, or complete forms at the monitoring station when entering.

All guests must be sponsored by a Band Member at the time of entry. Guests must follow existing COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

The information being collected is to assist with contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in Neyaashiinigmiing, and will not be used for any other purpose. All information collected will be destroyed after six months.

Visitor Information Forms are available on nawash.ca.

Neyaashiinimiing State of Emergency Extended

With the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, we are reminded that we remain in the grips of the pandemic. There is still no vaccine approved for COVID-19, nor is there an effective treatment. COVID-19 is a dangerous illness that is particularly risky for people with compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions.

In order to keep the Neyaashiinigmiing community safe, the Council has passed Motion 478 accepting the recommendation of the Community Emergency Response Group to extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing up to and including October 31, 2020.  The state of the pandemic and local conditions will be reassessed near the scheduled end of the State of Emergency to determine our next, best actions.

Reminder to Give Notice of External Service Provider Visits

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Ontario have unfortunately taken a turn for the worse, with increasing case counts in several jurisdictions. While the spike in cases is primarily in urban centres, it serves to caution us against letting our guard down now. The precautions we have been taking against an outbreak of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing have been successful, to date, and we must remain vigilant.

Access to the community remains restricted during the ongoing community State of Emergency. Non-residents, including guests, employees and essential services, must have a letter of entrance, provided by the Band, or have been pre-registered for entry into the community.

Many service providers are already cleared for entry, but to avoid having your visitor delayed, please remember to notify the Band Office if you are expecting a visit from a service provider for whatever reason. This can include but is not limited to: health care, home maintenance, telecom services, fuel delivery, and deliveries.

The Band Office can be reached by calling 519-534-1689.

Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Extends Facemask Order

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health has extended the existing face covering order for the County. The previous order which had been set to expire Friday, September 11, will now remain in place for at least another 28 calendar days, expiring on October 8, 2020. The order requires all persons entering an indoor commercial establishment (e.g grocery store, gas station, bank, restaurant) to wear a covering over their noses and mouths. Neyaashiinigmiing has a parallel order in place covering businesses on the reserve.

Face masks have been conclusively shown to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, making them a daily wear item for people outside their homes. Help keep our community and people safe and healthy. Remember the face mask requirement when you are leaving your home and bring yours along.

Council Authorizes Monitoring Station to Refuse Access

An early and important step taken by the Council to protect the health and safety of Neyaashiinigmiing was to restrict access to the community to members, employees and essential services. Since March of this year, the Sydney Bay Road entrance has been closed and all traffic must enter by the remaining entrance on Port Elgin Road, which has been monitored around the clock by dedicated employees.

The initial restrictions were relaxed in phases to allow non-resident members to visit Neyaashiinigmiing, as well as seasonal campers in Cape Croker Park, and registered lease holders. In all cases, non-residents are required to register with the Health Centre prior to their visit, and leave their contact information for tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Council is disappointed that some residents are risking the health of the community by not cooperating with these very simple protocols and registering their non-resident guests. The health and safety guidelines are designed to keep our entire, particularly vulnerable, community safe, but in order for them to work we all need to follow the health guidelines.

To help reduce the number of unregistered individuals in the community, the Council has passed Motion 404 giving the monitors at the Port Elgin Road station the temporary authority to refuse entry to Neyaashiinigmiing anyone who does not present an official letter of entry. Monitors will turn away any person who has not been registered. Please enjoy an uninterrupted visit from your guest – and help us keep our community safe – by registering your guests with the Health Centre.

Visitors must submit a request to the Health Centre, providing the following information, at least two days prior to their arrival. Note that currently non-resident, non-members are not permitted to visit the community without special permission from the Council.

  • the full name, permanent address and phone number of each person in your visiting group
  • the make, model and vehicle plate number of each vehicle a visitor or group who wishes to enter the reserve will be using
  • where the visitor will be staying while in Neyaashiinigmiing
  • the intended duration of the visitor’s stay

Contact Suzy Jones, Community Health Representative with your information.

Email: healthrep@gbtel.ca

Office Phone: 519-534-0373 ext 224

Cell phone (text or call): 519-375-6896

Board of Education Returns to Regular Office Hours Under New Safety Protocol

Boozhoo and greetings to all, hopefully everyone has had an enjoyable, safe and healthy summer. As we enter into a new/different working routine, there are some updates we would like to share with our community and clients.

Effective August 31, 2020, the Board of Education will return to regular office hours, Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. We remind our clients that the State of Emergency is ongoing and COVID-19 Safety Measures are in effect. Help us keep you safe by observing the following protocol:

  • Staff are available to assist the public by telephone or email. In-person meetings are also available by appointment only. Before you visit, please call ahead to schedule your visit to the office.
  • Face masks must be worn when entering the building (if you do not have a face mask, please ask our staff and one will be provided). A hand sanitizing station is available at the front entrance and must be used when entering and departing from the building.
  • Please keep a safe physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from one another.

Board Meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Special Board Meetings are held as needed. Attendees are encouraged to attend Board meetings via teleconference or Zoom (online), in order to practice safe physical distancing. Please inform our office if you have a Band Member Request by submitting a letter one week prior to a scheduled Board Meeting.

The next Call for Applications for the Nawash Education Diversity Assistance Program (NEDAP) will open September 15th, 2020 at 12:00 AM.  The deadline for applications is October 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

Please visit our the Board of Education page for more information and resources.