Premier Sandy Silver speaks during COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on May 12. Silver announced on May 12 that the full details of the Yukon’s re-opening plan are scheduled to be made available later this week. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

Premier reiterates plan to reopen coming soon

Details are to be released on May 15, Silver says

Premier Sandy Silver announced on May 12 that the full details of the Yukon’s re-opening plan are scheduled to be made available later this week.

Silver said there will be “a plan to share” on May 15, but did reveal some of what would be needed for businesses to reopen during the May 12 COVID-19 update.

He said the reopening plan will be adjustable and modifiable based on the reality of the day.

“We are evaluating each step and we will make adjustments as needed,” Silver said.

He said safety measures will be paramount. The government is tracking milestones, including watching how people physically distance themselves while shopping.

Silver said it is down to individuals to follow the orders.

“It is up to all of us to monitor how close we are to others,” Silver said.

All employers will have to complete a COVID-19 operational plan in order to open their doors again. The premier explained that these plans do not have to be approved by the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board, but it can review plans.

Templates for operating plans will be made available later this week. The templates are meant to help businesses identify and mediate health and safety hazards related to COVID-19.

He noted that if occupational health and safety officers perform visits, they may ask businesses to produce their plans.

Silver said that as these plans are formed and guidelines made, they will be uploaded onto the territory’s website. He recommended that businesses, non-government organizations and event committees check the website to see if guidelines tailored to their line of business are there.

He also acknowledged that returning to work means there needs to be a plan for childcare. With that in mind, the government is looking to lift restrictions on child care centres and summer camps.

Discussions will take place with these providers to see how quickly they can get their services up and running again.

The government is not ready to declare the territory risk-free, however, and Silver added it is responsible to continue to have safety precautions for the pandemic.

He said while the restrictions to the border stay in place, other plans for reopening will continue to move forward. He reminded people that the border restrictions will likely be in place for some time.

The premier also reiterated that people travelling through the Yukon are given a map with the route they must take to get through the territory and that they have 24 hours to do so. The map also contains information for where food and gas can be obtained.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer of health, said COVID-19 is a rare disease in Yukon. He said the last reported case was on April 20 and there have been no further cases found since, despite increased testing. Hanley explained the risk of the virus being imported to the territory still exists. With this in mind, he said he did not anticipate the territory to be able to welcome international flights this summer.

“Reducing importation risk remains the key pillar of our strategy,” Hanley said.

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

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