Whitehorse Daily Star

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REOPENING MEASURES EXPLAINED – Premier Sandy Silver (left) speaks during Friday afternoon’s media briefing, while Dr. Brendan Hanley looks on. Photo courtesy YUKON GOVERNMENT/ALISTAIR MAITLAND PHOTOGRAPHY

Border relaxation details being worked out

The Yukon government will launch phase two of the COVID-19 reopening plan on July 1, a phase that includes reopening the border between the Yukon and B.C.

By Gabrielle Plonka on June 1, 2020

The Yukon government will launch phase two of the COVID-19 reopening plan on July 1, a phase that includes reopening the border between the Yukon and B.C.

“We are confident in our health care capacity, our ability to test and our ability to track and contain this virus,” Premier Sandy Silver said Friday afternoon.

“It’s that confidence … that allows us to move into phase two.”

Silver and Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer, provided an update and hosted a virtual town hall, answering questions from the public.

Phase two will include the reopening of personal services, dine-in restaurants at 50 per cent capacity, day cares, day camps and recreational centres.

Once phase two is launched, border restrictions will relax between the Yukon and B.C.

This means that people will be able to move freely between the two jurisdictions without having to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the Yukon.

“Lifting travel restrictions to British Columbia is possible because of the epidemiology of COVID-19 in that province,” Silver said.

“It is based in science, careful risk assessment and our confidence in how British Columbia is managing that pandemic.”

Last week, B.C. saw the lowest number of deaths and new cases since a public health emergency was declared in March. There are 228 active cases in the province.

Schools reopened in B.C. today, with students given the option to return to class or continue learning from home.

B.C. residents entering the Yukon will still have to sign a declaration at the border, Silver said.

Hanley added that some details on the border relaxation still need to be worked out.

“It’s actually a month away, which seems very unusual in these times,” Hanley said.

“There’s work to be done on how that will operationalize.”

B.C. residents entering the Yukon will see some restrictions on their travel, he added.

For example, he is considering continuing a ban on long-term care visitation for Outside residents.

Silver said the border opening could provide a much-needed boost to tourism operators.

“It’s definitely something we want to work on with the tourism associations,” Silver said.

Territorial campgrounds will reopen Thursday (see story below).

Silver urged Yukoners to be respectful and cautious while camping, and to only camp with members of their household bubble.

He asked that travel to rural communities be undertaken carefully. Campers should pack all the food and supplies they need for their trip before leaving home.

“Each community is taking steps to ensure that they feel safe and prepared for visitors, and we ask Yukoners to stay informed and respectful,” Silver said.

“Please do not linger unnecessarily outside shops or in the communities if you do not have a specific purpose for being there. Continue to practise these six steps for staying safe.”

Hanley said he is optimistic that the Yukon can continue to move forward on its reopening plan.

“This is an exciting day for all of us,” he said.

“I am confident if we continue on this path, we will be in a good place to move our path forward.”

See letters.

Comments (17)

Up 3 Down 4

Megan on Jun 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

"Lifting travel restrictions to British Columbia is possible because of the epidemiology of COVID-19 in that province,” Silver said.
“It is based in science, careful risk assessment and our confidence in how British Columbia is managing that pandemic.”
This is misleading, and unfortunately the Premier didn't clarify, perhaps because the importance of the Yukon tourism industry is more important at this time than taking precautions against spread of the virus to Yukoners.

Is the BC/Yukon border open on July 1st to BC residents because of "our confidence in how British Columbia is managing the pandemic?" Or is it open to all Canadians regardless of residency who come far enough west to come into the Yukon through the BC border? If it's the latter, Yukon will be the only jurisdiction to have completely open borders in Canada.

How that affects Yukoners in the longer term will be laid at the feet of the Premier and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, who are said to be "confident" of Yukon's health care system to manage the uptick in infections as a result.
Let's remember their confidence.

Up 21 Down 5

JohnW on Jun 6, 2020 at 3:31 am

It was not the pandemic that blew up our lives, it was the response by media and governments!
The pandemic didn’t do this. It caused a temporary and mostly media-fueled panic that distracted officials from doing what they should have done, which is protect the vulnerable and otherwise let society function and medical workers deal with disease.

Instead, the CDC, WHO and politicians, at the urging of bad computer-science models uninformed by any experience in viruses, shut down schools, churches, events, restaurants, gyms, theaters, sports, and further instructed people to stay in their homes, enforced sometimes even by police action.

It was brutal and egregious and it threw millions of people out of work and bankrupted countless businesses. Nothing this terrible was attempted even during the Black Death. Maximum economic damage; minimum health advantages.
It’s not even possible to find evidence that the shut-downs saved lives at all.

Up 10 Down 3

Inuvik on Jun 5, 2020 at 3:04 pm

I guess no one will be going to Whitehorse this summer. No one will want to isolate when they return. Such a shame.

Up 11 Down 5

YukonMax on Jun 5, 2020 at 6:03 am

And as a result, NWT and Nunavut are slamming the door shut on us.

Up 13 Down 18

itookalook on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:01 am

Dear WS, it appears that some people are voting 2, 3, 4 times if not more. What is the point of having thumbs up or down if people can vote more than once?

Up 16 Down 0

ian skinner on Jun 4, 2020 at 6:56 am

B.C. traffic or B.C. residence ?

Up 25 Down 9

Juniper Jackson on Jun 3, 2020 at 7:53 pm

The borders were never closed. Skagway? yes. The Al Can. I guess letting 2000 people through, and telling 16 they can't come in could be considered closed to 16 people. Asking some questions? Oh yeah..that works because no one ever lies. Telling them they can't come to town? oh yeah..that works too.

Seeing as how nothing was closed, no one stayed home, people went camping and fishing anyway. The government and Hanley insisted, determined to the bitter end to justify their heavy handedness that the borders were closed,

Hanley and Silver have pushed the envelop past being reasonable. And pushed the fear factor way too far. I also know people terrified to go out of their houses or yards. (You don't have to, stay home). Why isn't anyone talking about the societal issues? Drinking, addictions, violence, violence in the home, mental health.. the aftermath of shutdown is a whole lot worse than the disease. And, it infuriates me that I can not decide that I need to see a doctor and then actually see a doctor.

Up 26 Down 18

Nicky on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm

This Covid plandemic reminds me of the Y2K fiasco.

CDC admitted they screwed up COVID19 infection counts and intentionally misled the public and have apologized, clarifying that the amount of people truly infected is much lower than what was originally reported -- an error so egregious it made the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute say “how could the CDC make this mistake? This is a mess."

The American Coronavirus Task Force also admitted to fudging the National COVID19 death count when Dr. Birx said the deaths are people who died “with” COVID19 not “from” COVID19, thus making the real death count much lower than what is currently being reported.

Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted masks won’t help against the virus and mask manufacturers are now including warnings that their products do not deter COVID19. Fauci also said that continuing to close the country could cause irreparable damage.

CDC backtracked their initial claim that led governors to shutdown their states & clarified that COVID19 does not spread easily on surfaces.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo confirmed a recent health study showing that 70% of new infections actually originate at home, thus making stay at home orders one of the most dangerous mandates currently in place.

Trump stopped funding the WHO and threatened to cut off money permanently until they can prove they are no longer corruptly influenced by communist China after they lied to our country about human to human transmission of COVID19 in January.

The curve is flattened, the CDC, WHO, Dr. Fauci, our governors, and many more were completely wrong about the potential threat of this virus.
Even California is opening up sooner than anyone expected because the evidence contradicts the long standing and inaccurate narrative still upheld by the extremely dishonest & corrupt media.

If you are still living in fear, Don’t be. The media, global organizations, the government, and its agencies “mislead” the public.
People called those of us who knew this all along conspiracy theorists, but it turns out we were just following the facts!
Open up your businesses, churches, and homes. Don’t fall for the lies any longer. If you fell for the lies this time, wake up and join the army of truth seekers fighting on the front lines.

The #CDC just confirmed a 0.2% death-rate for #COVID19 ...

For that, we have:
• Added nearly 6 trillion to national debts
• Laid-off or furloughed 50 million workers
• Placed 60 million on welfare
• Gone from 3.5%to 14.7% unemployment
• Crippled the petroleum industry
• Ruined the tourism industry
• Bankrupted the service industry
• Caused an impending meat and protein crisis
• Threatened, fined, and arrested church leaders
• Exacerbated mental health problems
• Shut down schools and colleges
• Given unbridled power to unelected officials
• Increased suicides higher than COVID deaths
• Delayed surgeries and treatments for profound illnesses
• Infringed upon countless important civil liberties
• Placed 330 million North Americans on house arrest

These consequences are largely due to two things:
• The first is our view of government as a god that can control Providence and plagues. In our hubris, we increasingly view the government as a deity who can stop acts of nature.
• The second is our sniveling, 21st-century commitment to safety. Our desire to be “safe” ruined our fiscal, physical, medical, food, energy, and national security.

"Unfortunately there is no vaccine for cultural fragility."

--↑-Written by JD Hall

This is unbelievable; some of this damage is irreparable, some small businesses have suffered reputable damage, some families have lost everything they've worked for their whole lives. For the financial destruction alone caused by this and the mental emotional distress, someone needs to pay for this damage of monumental catastrophic impact.

Up 21 Down 7

North_of_60 on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:39 pm

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has written to Yukon's Minster of Justice stating that based on the current number of COVID cases in BC and Yukon, they believe the border restrictions to be unlawful. BC has 1 active case per 20,000 residents and Yukon has 0 cases. BC has clearly demonstrated that when outbreaks occur due to community spread they can be contained. Based on the current COVID reality in BC and Yukon how does the Government justify the continued suspension of Charter Rights? Will the Government provide evidence that it's Orders are both "reasonable and demonstrably justified" ?

Up 26 Down 3

JohnW on Jun 3, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Covid cases and deaths have been steadily declining across Canada and the US including BC and Alaska. The Covid infection peak has passed and the threat to Yukoners is negligible. Our tradespeople in construction, transportation and retail have continued working since the beginning, in close proximity to travelers from Canada, Alaska and the lower 48. None of us have become sick with Covid. Be sensible, if Covid was actively circulating the staff at WalMart and other big-box stores would be sick with it.
Stop making yourselves frightened and get back to work, while continuing to protect and isolate the sick and elderly.

Up 22 Down 44

Charlie's Aunt on Jun 3, 2020 at 3:04 pm

I am truly pleased with precautions that have been taken to ensure YT has been almost safe, but I am not too happy about border potentially being opened up to BC traffic. Who knows of contact these people may had had on way here? Keep borders closed to all, except for essential traffic. Keep us virus free and allow us to go about our local business as normal. Open up and we are at risk.

Up 41 Down 16

Max Mack on Jun 3, 2020 at 2:46 pm

I am concerned about the xenophobic and political undertones of the restrictions and recommendations imposed to date, as well as the "re-opening" plans.

First Nations get a pass on travel restrictions due to "treaty obligations", as though "treaty rights" somehow supercede the Charter. And opening to BC (left leaning in general) while maintaining restrictions on AB (right leaning in general) definitely smacks of preferential "you're on our side" treatment.

Up 37 Down 10

John Devries on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:34 am

Move phase 2 up to June 15 . Time to get things moving. What are we waiting for? Fishing camps, outfitters, Wilderness tours all hurting.

Up 26 Down 8

Jim Vautour on Jun 3, 2020 at 10:25 am

We don't take to no strangers in these here parts, reckon ya better keep moving on, take those alligator boots on outa here. Git on goin now.

Up 31 Down 15

Guncache on Jun 2, 2020 at 6:01 pm

I haven't been able to figure out who the leader of the Yukon is, Silver or Hanley?

Up 33 Down 3

Thomas on Jun 2, 2020 at 12:27 pm

We are currently asked to limit our travel to the communities, and it’s repeated in this article as well.

I am curious how it will be once the Yukon/BC border is open. Are the communities good with visitors then?

Up 32 Down 35

out of town plates on Jun 2, 2020 at 1:55 am

What about all of the out of town plates? Stopping in Tagish, Whitehorse, driving up Grey Mountain, stores, eateries, Haines Junction...why are the people driving through not doing what's asked of them? We don't want them here right now! People coming from other regions are going to bring the virus here. Not willing to sacrifice the seniors in my life because nobody is ensuring these 'visitors' aren't on their way to Alaska or up north, like they are supposed to be. Need to have them accounted for, not on good faith that they won't stop.

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