Many of the Yukon’s public health restrictions are being removed as of March 4, however, requirements for wearing masks in public spaces and proof of vaccination in certain settings will still be in place, as will the vaccine requirement for government employees.
The state of emergency that is used to enforce these measures will also remain in effect.
“So on March 4, what it means is capacity limits for designated settings will be removed, size limits for all gatherings will be lifted. Additionally, bars and restaurants can return to normal service without needing to keep tables six feet apart,” Premier Sandy Silver said in a Feb. 24 announcement of the restrictions being dropped.
“Dancing and mingling between tables will be allowed as of March 4.”
The premier said that the rescinded restrictions don’t mean that Yukoners can throw up their hands and pretend the pandemic is over. He urged people to remain cautious and to stay home if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, however minor.
Silver said that with a plan in place to roll back some of the restrictions for March 4, the government would be shifting discussion to the remaining three restrictions and monitoring the situation in British Columbia as the province removes restrictions.
He said two of the three restrictions that remain in place are based on enforcement through the Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA), requiring the state of emergency to stay in place.
Silver noted that spikes in community transmission can happen easily and said caution is especially important heading into the Rendezvous weekend.
Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott said restrictions are falling as trends relating to COVID-19 in the territory continue to move in the right direction. At the Feb. 24 update, she said there are currently 47 active cases in the territory with eight of those being new cases. The daily average new case count over the past seven days has been 10 and the weekly average test positivity rate is down to 23 per cent.
As the test positivity rate and case count falls, the hours at the testing centre in Whitehorse will be reduced. As of Feb. 28, it will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Elliott said the reduced hours are a result of reduced demand for testing.
Rapid antigen tests will be distributed at the same places and times they have been since they were made available.
Elliott echoed the premier’s urge for caution in social gatherings suggesting that people asses risk based on gathering size, current case activity, whether the gathering will be indoors or outside and how long will be spent in close contact among other factors.
She also continued to urge vaccination as a measure against the virus including the recently opened clinics offering vaccination for children. She noted that her own children had been vaccinated in the past week. She said 60 per cent of children in the Yukon have received the first dose of the vaccine.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org