Premier Sandy Silver and chief medical officer Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at the Yukon government’s COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on May 19. The government announced that guidelines for the reopening of personal service businesses will be released later in the day. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

Government says details coming for personal services, restaurant reopenings

Phase one of reopening started May 15

Premier Sandy Silver and Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer of health, gave further details on phase one of the territory’s reopening plan at a press conference about COVID-19 on May 19.

Yukon businesses ordered to close due to COVID-19, like restaurants and personal services, will need to have their COVID-19 operational plans approved by the government before they can reopen.

All other Yukon businesses have until May 29 to complete their COVID-19 operational plans, but will not need to have them approved — just available in case of an inspection.

Silver said “as of today,” there would be guidelines sent to personal service businesses regarding what they need to do to reopen. Personal services include hair salons, tattoo parlours and estheticians.

These businesses must develop operation plans and submit them for approval prior to reopening, and Silver said the review team is committed to getting back to business owners within 48 hours of submission.

Guidelines for restaurants will be released “shortly,” the premier said, adding that he expected they would be ready later this week.

Silver clarified that only businesses that were ordered closed must submit plans for approval.

He added these plans are not mean to create a burden, but rather keep people safe.

Silver also announced further funding to help parents.

Anyone with a child registered in a Yukon public school, from kindergarten to Grade 12, will be eligible for $250 per enrolled child. This will be a one-time payment to help parents educate their children at home.

“Students and families have different circumstances and best understand what their needs are in addressing these challenges,” Silver said. “That is why we are providing this funding directly to families.”

Families can access this funding through Sport Yukon, who will be issuing the money on behalf of the Department of Education. Applications can be sent to families through schools also.

Hanley reminded people about the two household bubbles introduced last week for socializing with a second household, and clarified it doesn’t matter if the combined households add up to more than 10 people.

He cautioned that if there were more cases in the territory, depending on the origin, strict health orders may have to be reintroduced.

As of the afternoon of May 19, 1,134 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the Yukon. There are 1,117 negative results, 6 pending results and 11 confirmed cases. The 11 confirmed cases are all now considered recovered.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

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