Premier Sandy Silver, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley at the Government of Yukon COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse, Yukon on June 2. The Yukon government provided more details on phase two of the reopening plan at a June 24 COVID-19 update. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

Phase two of reopening to include travel from B.C. and the other territories

The second phase of the reopening plan is set to start July 1

Come phase two of the Yukon’s reopening plan, residents from British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will be able to enter the territory without self-isolating for 14 days.

Premier Sandy Silver and the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley provided more information about phase two, scheduled to begin July 1, during the June 24 COVID-19 update.

Silver announced that B.C., N.W.T. and Nunavut residents will be able to come to the territory effective that date and not be subject to isolation orders. These residents will have to provide some kind of proof of address to show they are from the jurisdiction they claim.

The government has not yet determined what documents will be accepted as proof of address, but Silver said a driver’s licence will be sufficient and that other options are being considered.

He clarified that anyone from these three jurisdictions will only be exempt from isolation orders if they travel directly from their home jurisdiction to the Yukon. If someone from Nunavut had to make stops between the territory and the Yukon, that individual could still be exempt provided the stops were in either N.W.T. or B.C.

“We appreciate that travel from Nunavut would involve a stop, so as long as the travellers are still within the Northwest Territories and British Columbia, that would be acceptable,” Silver said.

Hanley added that these residents will not just be waved through; they will have to sign a declaration stating they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Other restrictions that will be lifted for phase two will be the limit of 50 per cent capacity for restaurants. Restaurants will be able to operate at up to 100 per cent capacity, provided physical distancing is still in place.

“If you have the ability to maintain social distancing … then you can do that (full capacity),” Silver said. “It’s just that a lot of restaurants won’t have that ability. They have closed in spaces.”

Updated guidelines for restaurants will be available before phase two begins.

The government is working with the City of Whitehorse to help support restaurants expand outside as another way to increase their capacity.

Public pools with an approved operational plan can reopen in phase two. Plans must be submitted for approval and the Public Health and Safety Act must be adhered to.

Farmers markets will be able to welcome non-food vendors in phase two, but information booths remain prohibited. Markets can also have seating and an outdoors dining area.

Silver also gave some information about phase three. The tentative start for this phase could be as early as July 15. He explained phases could last a couple of weeks to a month depending on the epidemiology of the virus.

This could lead to allowing residents from the remaining provinces access to the Yukon, but the two-week isolation period would remain. More details will be released later on this.

Silver explained the work that needs to be done is making sure communities are ready for the next phase.

Hanley said opening up the territory means being vigilant with spacing, hand washing and other preventative measures.

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

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