Manitoba First Nation to allow hundreds of people to visit over the holidays

WINNIPEG — One Manitoba First Nation is allowing more than 400 people to visit the community over the holidays.

CTV News Winnipeg previously reported Peguis First Nation released a notice saying it will allow students and extended family members to enter the community during its ‘Holiday Relaxed Days’ of Dec. 23 to 28 and Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. The First Nation is under federal jurisdiction and is allowed to set its own public health restrictions.

Peguis First Nation Chief Glenn Hudson told CTV News Winnipeg 438 people from 127 families have signed up to come to the First Nation.

He noted that Peguis is taking strict precautions during the Holiday Relaxed Days, including mandatory pre-registration for visitors, temperature checks, and curfews.

“Right now we’re allowing our families that have registered as of the end of the day on Dec. 22, yesterday, to come into our community and we’re carrying out the screening protocols,” Hudson said on Wednesday. 

He added the First Nation is sharing its community safety guidelines and giving out family packages with thermometers, masks, gloves, and sanitizer.

He noted that if any visitors disobey the protocols in place, they will be removed from the community, and that if there’s a spike in cases the community will be shifted into full lockdown. 

“At this point there are no issues and no infections have been detected,” Hudson said.

The First Nation is allowing these visitations despite renewed calls from Premier Brian Pallister, urging Peguis to follow provincial public health orders.

“I’m just extremely disappointed that one of those leaders would now relax and try to celebrate an accomplishment when we’re in the middle of a battle here,” the premier said.

“It’s not the time to relax our restrictions, it’s not the time to invite people to start moving around the province.”

Hudson’s response to the premier is the First Nation has zero new cases and zero active cases.

“We’re prepared to enjoy and have a merry Christmas together and our families being together,” he said. 

Hudson said he’s in communication with Indigenous Services Canada and it’s fine with the measures.

– With files from CTV’s Touria Izri and Vanessa Broadbent.

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