Effective Saturday, April 25, M’Chigeeng restricts travel through the community

Volunteers are busy operating the Highway 540 checkpoint, just before the hill leading into the community, on Monday afternoon. photo by Andrew Corbiere

M’CHIGEENG–The chief and council of M’Chigeeng First Nation met on April 23 and reviewed the recommendations of the community’s Non-Essential Travel Ban Taskforce and determined “that the risk of COVID-19 to the community is far too great based on the amount of traffic through the community.”

“As a result of the Highway 540 checkpoint that was established, data was collected that has shown us that there is a large amount of non-essential traffic coming through and stopping in our community,” a press release from M’Chigeeng Ogimaa-kwe Linda Debassige states. “There is also a large amount of our own members who are going to places where they may be exposed to this virus, including Sudbury and Toronto. This increases our community’s risk of exposure to COVID-19. There is no cure for this virus and our health care system will not do well under the strain of COVID-19.”

Effective Saturday, April 25 at 12 noon, M’Chigeeng First Nation will be moving into a Non-Essential Travel Ban. This means that travel will be restricted to and from the community. Council has approved essential travel and non-essential travel lists (please see below).

“M’Chigeeng is fortunate to have the goods and services right here in our community to support us during this time. We have the following: grocery store; convenience stores and gas stations; UCCM Building Supply Company; prescription delivery; mail delivery; courier delivery, etc.

As a result of this decision, the M’Chigeeng Freshmart will open its doors to in-store shopping. The first hour of opening will be dedicated to elders.

“We continue to strongly encourage our members to stay home during this time,” the press release continues. “There are many things we could be doing in our homes and around our homes. This is an unprecedented time that requires unprecedented measures to protect our loved ones as best we can. We understand this will cause much frustration and will create a huge inconvenience to all our citizens and our neighbours, however, the council has determined that the preservation of life and health of our community is the most important and is the determining factor of this decision. To do nothing to protect our community in this way could potentially have devastating impacts to many of our families and to our community as a whole.”

List of essential travellers that can pass through M’Chigeeng:

Community services including but not limited to: policing and law enforcement, fire and emergency services, paramedics, coroner and pathology services, corrections and court services, licences and permits, nurses, community living, health care workers, health care professionals and practitioners, bank workers, grocery store workers, caregivers (Bayshore, VON, etc.), child safety/welfare workers (Kina, MFN Family Services, CAS), vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance (garages, mechanics, service techs, managers, staff, parts deliveries, tires, oil changes), construction material deliveries, highway work crews, waste management, deliveries (i.e. food for grocery stores, pharmaceutical, fuel, gasoline/diesel deliveries, postal services, and registered couriers, medical taxis only), utilities (hydro, propane, telephone/internet, medical oxygen delivery), funeral and related services, security services for residence/business/properties, essential workers (i.e. construction companies and ongoing construction projects, heavy equipment, highway, road building, large infrastructure projects, residential contractors, construction workers going to/from work, loggers, tow trucks, heavy rescue, dump trucks), medical appointments within the community (i.e. Manitoulin Physio), medical appointments beyond and outside M’Chigeeng (must provide proof to checkpoint, medical confirmation slip to come back through), truckers (dump trucks, log trucks, cement trucks, freight, straight/box trucks i.e. bread/chip truck, Manitoulin Transport vehicles, tow trucks, etc.) and anyone with written permission from the chief and/or deputy chief.

List of essential travel outside the borders of M’Chigeeng:

  1.  Travel to attend a medical appointment or access medical services
  2. Travel to go to work/place of employment
  3. Travel to attend a funeral
  4. Anyone with written permission from chief and/or deputy chief

List of non-essential travellers and those restricted to come through M’Chigeeng First Nation:

  1. Cottagers/campers/seasonal residents/camper trailers/RVs
  2. People who want to go fishing/hunting/outdoor recreation
  3. People visiting friends/family/acquaintances/co-workers
  4. Transient traffic (people going for a drive)
  5. People who want to shop in M’Chigeeng
  6. Non-essential cross-Island traffic