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Kahnawake going from red to orange

Starting next Friday, May 21, the cautionary red zone will be put to sleep, and the community will emerge into the orange zone. Let’s break down what this means.

Outdoor visits:

Outdoor visits have now been extended to up to 12 people, as long as the safety measures of distance, hygiene and masking remain in place.

“We’re seeing that when people are outside, they are following the measures,” said Lisa Westaway the executive director of Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre and Task Force member. “Now of course, if you’re all sitting together at the same table and you’re not wearing a mask, there will a higher risk of transmission,” she warned.


Restaurants owners are allowed to open their business for dining in at 25 percent capacity. “When you’re indoors, in an enclosed area, you have the most risk of transmission,” said the Task Force member. “People will be distanced more than two meters.”

Furthermore, only residents of Kahnawake or those that work within the community will be allowed to dine in, and you will only be able to sit with your own household.

Just like the last opening, the business owner will need an inspector to give them the go ahead, and all the safety measures on the business reopening website must be followed closely. There is also an added expectation that the restaurant have an information plan.

Further, there are new expectations regarding ventilation. “Natural ventilation will be expected more than once a day, meaning at least twice a day, opening windows for 15 minutes when nobody is in the space.”

Westaway explained that they are optimistic that the community will take it upon themselves to be responsible with this opportunity.

Outdoor sports:

Up to 12 people will be allowed to participate in outdoor organized sports within the community. These organizations will have to present their COVID-19 plan to the Task Force, with a comprehensive explanation on how it will be implemented.

Place of Worship/ Longhouses:

Prior to the zone change, there was a maximum of 25 people allowed in places of worship. Now, these institutions are able to go up to 25 percent capacity, without exceeding 50 people. As this is an indoor measure, a ventilation plan will have to be implemented.

Westaway explained the Task Force is very excited about these changes. “It feels like we’re moving forward, finally.” She believes the community has what it takes.

“Our individual actions impact the collective,” explained Westaway. “We are slowly trying to take the burden of responsibility off the Task Force, and put it on the individual. This can be very empowering.”

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