Personal services and dine-in restaurants will be permitted to reopen this week.
Starting on Wednesday, hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlours, nail salons and non-registered massage therapists can begin taking customers.
On Friday, restaurants can provide dine-in services as long as they operate with dining rooms at 50-per-cent seating capacity to enable physical distancing.
Only food-primary restaurants are permitted to reopen – with bars still waiting for the go-ahead.
Child care operators can also return to their pre-pandemic enrolment numbers.
All three types of operations must follow guidelines set out by the Yukon government for each industry. Personal services and restaurants must submit operational plans for approval before receiving the green light to reopen.
Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer, provided this update on Friday afternoon alongside Premier Sandy Silver and Ranj Pillai, the minister of Economic Development (see story below).
Some businesses will be candidates for inspection after their operational plans are approved, by staff of Environmental Health and the territorial workers’ compensation board, Silver said.
“(It’s) to ensure they don’t go through that considerable effort to open, just to find out they may have to change those plans,” Silver said.
“Our intent is to be helpful, not a hindrance.”
Pillai said substantial guidance documents are available for businesses as they formulate their safety plans.
Restaurant guidelines include ensuring physical spacing between customers and asking screening questions so people who are ill do not enter the establishment.
Hanley said that members of household bubbles can sit at tables together when restaurants reopen.
Once businesses throw open their doors, Hanley said, it’s likely that they will not be required to close again if the Yukon sees more cases of COVID-19.
“It’s based on a combination of criteria, but I think it’s continually based on the risk of COVID circulation,” Hanley said.
“We’re not really going to be worried, I’m not going to be worried, if we saw further cases.”
Reclosing businesses would require evidence of more cases than the Yukon has already seen.
“It would be more like if we had a large outbreak, if we had an increased demand on public health services,” Hanley said.
“If we were to see evidence of community spread of COVID, we would have measures that would make us pause or have to go back; we are trying to progress in a way that we don’t have to do that.”
Bars will have to wait a little bit longer than restaurants because they pose a different risk, as people are more likely to congregate in them, Hanley said.
On Friday, the Star reported that Melanie Graham, the owner of Kutters, was concerned that some clients might refuse to follow the new safety rules set by her establishment.
Hanley said businesses have the right to refuse service to customers and should exercise that right with anyone who threatens the safety of other clients and staff.
“I sense that there is going to be a lot of public support for supporting our local businesses and supporting their efforts to comply,” Hanley said.
“Really, the demands placed on the clients are really quite basic; not very demanding.”
The operational plans of these businesses will be checked against a checklist of 18 criteria, Hanley explained.
“It’s quite a systematic plan that is required to address spacing, screening, how many are allowed into the premises,” Hanley said.
Recreational programs will be the next to reopen and should also be forming a COVID-19 plan to be approved by public health officials.
Inspectors are also working with child care operators to determine when they can return to normal licensing capacity.
The Yukon hasn’t seen a new case of COVID-19 in five weeks.
As of Friday, the territory has tested 1,145 people for the virus with 1,129 negative results.
There are only five tests currently pending.