OHSWEKEN — The border checkpoints that closed off the Six Nations community for nearly four months have now been taken down.
Workers removed the concrete blockades throughout the community in the early morning hours of June 15 as the community enters Phase 2 of pandemic restrictions.
Non-residents will be allowed to enter the community and several non-essential business that were closed are now permitted to reopen.
In a statement Six Nations of the Grand River elected council says “As a community, we have to start balancing the health and safety with sustaining our livelihoods as a whole. Through these new measures, we are creating a situation where all families can prepare for the fall and winter, should a second wave hit us.”
The council and it’s emergency control group came under public scrutiny for the road closures having been up for as long as they were. During last Tuesday’s General Council meeting several councillors suggested they were getting complaints from residents about safety concerns, saying that fire, paramedic and police were having increased response times due to the full closure of some community access points.
Members of the business community also scrutinized the decisions to keep traffic restrictions and business closures in place as long as they were, citing economic strain.
SNGR took steps to implement health and safety standards for reopening, advising local businesses to install plexiglass dividers, wipe down public spaces more often and provide staff with personal protective equipment.
The following are now re-opening on Six Nations:
- Health and medical services that have been closed such as optometrists, and dentists. Their openings will have to align with the rules of their respective professional associations or colleges’ guidelines;
- Personal care businesses such as hair and nail salons, tattoo services, day spas, etc.;
- Retail Operations, including tobacco shops and arts and crafts stores;
- Office based businesses;
- Wholesale and warehousing operations;
- Libraries, Museums, Art Galleries;
- Chiefswood Park, and other parks (Note: use of playground equipment remains
- prohibited during stage 2);
- Sports Fields for groups of 10 or less (i.e. softball diamonds, soccer fields and running tracks) other than those
- located in the vicinity of the Community Hall; and
- Horse barns.
SNGR says there will be a continual monitoring of surrounding jurisdictions COVID-19 statistics to determine if the community should increase protections again.
“With the efforts of the Emergency Control Group over the past three months, we know the community has all the tools and have taken all the necessary precautions to tackle COVID-19 and protect their families. We as a Council trust and believe – that every community member will take all the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” said the statement.