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Kitselas villages closed to visitors

Closure the latest among Terrace-area First Nations communities
Signs at the entrances to the Kitselas villages of Gitaus and Kulspai advise travel to the communities is restricted to members and those on essential business. (Submitted photo)

The Kitselas First Nation has closed its villages all visitors not conducting essential business, in an effort to prevent COVID-19 transmission to its members.

Road signs advising travellers of the closure were erected at the entrances to Gitaus and Kulspai April 9. This will also restrict access to recreational trails and fishing sites accessed through the villages.

The Terrace Standard has reached out to the Kitselas’ emergency response manager for more information.

The move follows a March 31 directive by the Kitselas Administration for members to self isolate in their homes until further notice, and to do everything possible to minimize exposure of the virus to Elders and family members with underlying health concerns.

READ MORE: Nisga’a Emergency Program Act activated in response to COVID-19, non-member visitation discouraged

The closures follow suit of many First Nations in B.C. issuing similar edicts.

The Kitsumkalum Band Council closed all residential areas of the Kitsumkalum community to outside visitors March 26, until further notice. Exceptions are being made for essential food and medical deliveries.

Also in mid-March the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) restricted visitor access to all villages except those providing essential services.

In partnership with the B.C. Ministry of transportation and Infrastructure, signs on Hwy 113 and at the village entrances went up March 13, declaring the closure of all tourist attractions in the Nass Valley.

READ MORE: Petition calls government to restrict non-essential travel to B.C.’s north, central coasts

“These signs are designed to limit the access of tourists and non-Nisga’a,” reads a government statement on its website. “This includes Hlgu Isgwit and provincial parks and camping sites. The highway is still open for businesses travelling in from Terrace that provide critical goods and services within each of the Nisga’a Villages and Nisga’a Lisims Government. Thank you for your compliance in protecting our communities from COVID-19.”

The NLG activated their Nisga’a Emergency Program Act on March 19.

About the Author: Quinn Bender

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