Walpole Island First Nation is limiting access to non-residents in response to the spread of COVID-19.
Walpole Island officials confirmed the information, which had been discussed in a social media video earlier this week, in a press release issued on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
“Please be advised that effective immediately, Walpole Island First Nation will be restricting non-resident travel over the Walpole Island First Nation bridge to essential traffic only,” Walpole Island First Nations officials said on Wednesday.
“For those individuals who will be crossing onto Walpole to access essential services — be advised that you must go directly to the service that you are accessing and leave immediately with no additional stops or visits.”
Walpole Island officials added: “Additionally, traffic across the bridge between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be restricted to residents of Walpole Island First Nation and Emergency Services. In order to enforce this, a 24-hour checkpoint will be established starting this evening at 7 p.m.”
Walpole officials say residents of Walpole Island will not be impeded from crossing the bridge and non-residents may still cross to access essential businesses and services after 6 a.m. and before 7 p.m.
“Those without a valid reason for crossing onto Walpole Island at any hour will be turned away,” Walpole Island officials stated.
The Walpole Island Emergency Control Group is also urging cottagers to stay away from Walpole Island until further notice, Walpole officials say.
“While we value your presence within our community, we would prefer that you stay at your normal residence in order to keep our elders and most vulnerable members safe from COVID-19,” Walpole Island officials stated.
Chief Dan Miskokomon said the new measures were put in place to protect Walpole Island’s most vulnerable members.
“Our hearts and thoughts go out to our neighbouring communities who have begun to see cases or are seeing an increase in cases of COVID-19,” Chief Miskokomon said in a press release.
“We are taking the action of limiting access to non-residents in order to further protect our members from the spread. Given the high prevalence of underlying health conditions, our community is especially vulnerable to this virus.”
Walpole Island First Nation officials sat they appreciate the cooperation of the community at this difficult time.