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Fort McKay restricting access to the community

PHOTO. An aerial view of Fort McKay, Alta., from 2011. The Fort McKay First Nation met with the Alberta Court of Appeal in Edmonton asking them to overturn the Alberta Energy Regulator's approval of Prosper's Rigel project near Moose Lake. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Fort McKay began restricting access to the community on Thursday, March 19 after COVID-19 was first detected in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

READ MORE: Mayor Scott reacts to regions first cases of COVID19

In a joint meeting by Fort McKay First Nation Chief Mel Grandjamb and Fort McKay Métis President, Ron Quintal and their council members they agreed to work as one nation to help stop the virus from spreading to their community.

A media release from the Fort McKay first nation states that they “have always relied on our land for security and as a refuge…we are exercising our Sovereign Rights and will be controlling access into our lands.”

Checkpoints are setup up with no visitors allowed into the community, only essential services, staff and community members.

The media release also offers a message of hope reading “as a community we have endured extreme winters, fires, flood threats and have thrived in our homeland surrounded by one of the largest industrial operations on the planet. Together as a nation we will persevere and manage through this emerging situation.”

Fort Chipewyan and Janvier have also taken similar measures and restricted non-essential travel.