Chief and Council has passed a Band Council Resolution and issued a press release to advise both the Federal and Provincial Governments, the MRC and our neighbouring municipalities that we have declared a State of Emergency for the Covid-19 Pandemic. It allows us to appoint an Emergency Response Group and activate our Emergency Preparedness and Pandemic Plans.

By doing this we are putting everyone on notice that we will do whatever is necessary to try and reduce the risk of our Members getting the virus. It is something that is necessary so the Emergency Response Committee and Council can take whatever measures deemed necessary including passing motions to reduce and restrict access to the community and set up check points if necessary. It also gives the Kebaowek Police Service powers to enforce articles of the Covid-19 law which includes the enforcement and fines for breaching them such as large gatherings and parties which could potentially increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the community. It also allows us to access emergency funding made available by Indian Affairs to assist with the needs associated with this disaster such as food security for the Elders, increased funding for the Food Bank to meet anticipated increases in requests as a result of members being laid off and waiting for EI, support for children, education etc.

The State of Emergency does not mean there is a case of Covid-19 in the community, but we know there are confirmed cases in the MRC and we want to ensure that we have the ability to maintain essential services and for the community to recognize how severe and dangerous this virus is and the threat it poses to our community.

In closing we will continue to do our best to protect Kebaowek First Nation, we may not prevent the virus from getting inside the community however declaring the State of Emergency gives us more tools and funding to meet the community needs and try and keep us all safe and healthy. We need to do as we have been asked, stay home, no large gatherings, practice physical distancing and wash your hands as advised by the Chief Medical Officer. These are the best tools we have to ensure we limit the impacts on the community and members. We all need to do our part and we will get through this and we need your continued support for this to happen.

The State of Emergency is not meant to cause a panic however I want people to understand the seriousness of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Council with the guidance of the Emergency Response Group is here to protect our community and our most vulnerable.