One Northern Chief praises the lifting of travel restrictions in the northeast and north-central as a good move.

The province Tuesday announced that the public health order prohibiting travel in the entire North was amended to only areas where COVID-19 was present, mainly in the northwest.

“It was good intentions, but I think if they would have concentrated on where the virus was located on the northwest side of the province I think it would have been something that would have worked out better for our side,” said Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Chief Peter Beatty.

Beatty called the travel ban premature, with no consultation with him.

But now that the ban has been lifted and people in his region can move freely, Beatty predicts food security will improve, as too will mental health.

“When you’re able to travel freely, people can get out more, which is good for their physical and mental health,” explained Beatty.

Residents and community leaders of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation are still cognizant of the threat the COVID-19 can have.

Early into the pandemic in the province, three people in Southend tested positive for the coronavirus, with one person being hospitalized.

Despite those early cases, the First Nation was able to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.

But given the fact there are no active cases, precautions are still being taken as Beatty said checkpoints will still be implemented to monitor traffic of incoming vehicle movements and intentions.

(Photo: Southend SK.)