Whitehorse Daily Star

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SHARING THE LATEST – Premier Sandy Silver (left) and Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at Wednesday afternoon’s weekly briefing on managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy YUKON GOVERNMENT/ALISTAIR MAITLAND PHOTOGRAPHY

Territory’s third reopening phase to dawn Saturday

Phase three of the Yukon’s COVID-19 reopening plan will launch Saturday with household bubbles expanding in size, the allowance of seated events and live music permitted in bars.

By Gabrielle Plonka on July 30, 2020

Phase three of the Yukon’s COVID-19 reopening plan will launch Saturday with household bubbles expanding in size, the allowance of seated events and live music permitted in bars.

“This will be a phase of slow and measured steps as we progress along the transition to a new normal,” Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer, said Wednesday afternoon. He provided a COVID-19 update with Premier Sandy Silver.

There are no plans to relax self-isolation requirements for travellers outside of the North and B.C. in the beginning stages of phase three.

The premier said the Yukon is keeping a close eye on other jurisdictions. Multiple provinces have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases this month, including an outbreak related to parties in B.C.’s wine country.

“Recent events in the Okanagan, in Alberta, and elsewhere should give us all pause and serve as a reminder that we are not out of the woods yet,” Silver said.

Self-isolation requirements will only be lifted when the risk is “significantly” lower than it is now, the premier said.

Hanley said the Yukon is “unlikely to be exempt” from the surge in cases seen across the country.

He said he expects to see more cases in the Yukon as travel restrictions are loosened, but feels confident in the territory’s public health capacity.

“It is inevitable that we will, from time to time, see one or two or 10 more cases of COVID-19 in the Yukon,” Hanley said.

A handful of new cases in the territory would not change the reopening plan.

“We’ve prepared as much as we can, and we have all systems in place,” Hanley said.

With travel restrictions staying as they are, the beginning of phase three will see loosened socialization rules within the territory.

Starting Saturday, families can expand their two-household bubble to include three to five families. Household bubbles should include a maximum of 10 to 15 people.

Hanley said household bubbles should be consistent to reduce mingling. 

Social gatherings are still limited to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

Phase three will see the introduction of guidelines for planned events in rented spaces. These events can include weddings, celebrations of life and other cultural events.

Planned events can host up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Event organizers should work from the government’s guidelines. Assigned guest seating, sanitation protocols and safe practices for the serving of food should be considered.

Event organizers won’t be required to submit operational plans for approval; however, the Yukon government will review plans for events hosting larger numbers of people.

Live music will also be permitted in bars starting Saturday, but guidelines should be in place to limit congregating. This means dance floors will not be allowed.

There are also plans to resume recreational sports this fall. Hanley said his office is meeting with the Yukon’s major sporting organizations to work on operational plans. 

Restrictions and guidelines for sports will likely reflect the guidelines imposed by the national organizations of those sports, Hanley said.

Silver said the Yukon has seen more than 30,000 incoming travellers to the territory since the beginning of May. He also provided some updated numbers from the territory’s enforcement team.

Enforcement officers have received 467 complaints so far. Most of these are related to out-of-territory travellers and individuals self- isolating. Fifteen complaints have been in relation to gatherings.

The government has also issued 103 visitor decals for people with out-of-territory licence plates who are permitted to move freely in the Yukon.

Last week, Silver said he was supporting B.C. Premier John Horgan’s call to the federal government for stricter Canadian border controls.

The premier said Wednesday he is expecting an announcement from the Canadian Border Services Agency today.

Comments (6)

Up 3 Down 3

Anie on Aug 3, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Jc - Bylaw (in every place I've lived ) are reactive. They act only on complaints, and the complainants identity is always protected. So there's nothing new here. Yet still we function. Amazing, huh! Perhaps everyone needs to take a breath. Through a mask. Lighten up.

Up 17 Down 1

Jack C. on Aug 1, 2020 at 11:14 am

@Nicky : Alaska just tightened up it's border requirements. This should be obvious.

Up 18 Down 23

Nicky on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:52 pm

If Americans were bringing Covid infection to the Yukon, then the staff at WalMart would have caught it by now. No Yukoners have caught Covid from Americans passing through have they?

Americans have always been driving through the Yukon to and from Alaska. International law guarantees this. It didn't stop because of Covid.
Any attempts to restrict free passage of Americans through the Territory are merely showy gestures to placate the Kanadian Karens that vote LIB.

Let those facts sink in and use some common sense instead of believing political news media fearmongering.

Up 4 Down 10

Peter Becker on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:01 pm

The idea of some imagining a 'plandemic' and conjuring anti-masker unreason is not grassroots, it is gullibility to an elite game of the flatearther version of neoliberals. Medical establishments have unfortunately over decades given ample energy to distrust by complicity with American healthcare trends denying Canadians access to dental, integrated cancer care and other medicare basics. But still, a fool can see that if ordinary people are made to further disown their voice in the face of danger by venting conspiracy gobbledygook, the imbalance of power shifts even more against us.
There is a lesson to be had in stalinism, which only became stalinism in its disciplinary deadly overreach and paranoia under strangling pressures of foreign imperialism, intervention and military invasions by Canada, Britain, US, Japan and other Westerners between 1918 - 1922. One of many accounts, the book Victoria to Vladivostok, by Canadian historian Ben Isitt is available in the Whitehorse public library.

Up 6 Down 15

ProScience Greenie on Jul 31, 2020 at 12:15 pm

JC - you must have missed the War on Some Drugs. Anyways, Stalinism, Fascism or any other form of authoritarianism, it's all bad but I don't think we're seeing too much of it with CV19.

Up 30 Down 16

Jc on Jul 30, 2020 at 8:53 pm

Never thought I would ever see the day in the Yukon or even Canada when governments encouraged snitching on fellow citizens. Stalinism is on the way, one little subtle step at a time.

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