PIKWAKANAGAN, ONT. -- The Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation have declared a state of emergency in their territory.

The community is located on the shores of the Bonnechere River, about 15 km west of Eganville, Ontario.

In a press release, Chief Wendy Jocko said the declaration was effective as of March 31, 2020.

"This State of emergency was declared: To ensure a proactive approach through the implementation of precautionary measures by the Council to protect community members," Jocko said.

She said the declaration is also meant to ensure timely access to outside funding and support, protect all members of the community, especially the most vulnerable, maintain essential services within the community and ensure community members recognize the severity of the current risk.

All businesses in the community have been ordered to close for an undetermined amount of time.

Chief Jocko said the Nation has been seeing a "significant influx of people" in the community recently, despite announcements from the Canadian and Ontario governments to limit non-essential travel.

"This increase is deemed to drastically increase the risk of exposure to our members and our front-line workers. A significant number of our members have underlying health conditions (cancer, diabetes, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, etc.,) which puts them at a higher risk of having serious complications from the virus, including death," Jocko said.

Chief Jocko said motions have been passed to ensure the safety of the community, with regard to non-member and non-resident traffic, but will not be blocking traffic completely.

"While other First Nation communities in Canada, including Ontario and Quebec, are setting-up control check-points, closing-down all together, or ordering the closures of all businesses, Pikwakanagan will continue to allow the through traffic provided business owners comply with the order to close immediately," Jocko said.