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Random COVID-19 tests eliminated for Yukon-Alaska border

The testing would have delayed cruise ship passengers
Don Denton/Victoria News July 9 2015 - The cruise ships, from left Golden Princess and Jewel of the Seas, tower above pedestrians and scuba divers walking along the Ogden point breakwater on a sunny July summer morning. Both ships were headed to Alaska with the Golden Princess enroute to Ketchikan and the Jewel of the Seas on her way to Skagway.

Tourism Minister Ranj Pillai confirmed on March 30 that random COVID-19 arrival testing will not be conducted at any of the Yukon’s land borders or airports.

The territory will be the exception and random testing will continue at other Canadian entry points – although COVID-19 tests are no longer universally required to be completed before crossing into the country.

Pillai said even random tests would have delayed travellers disembarking from Skagway. Given the short turnaround time for cruise ship excursions, many tourism operators were concerned they would need to cancel activities.

“While certainly an important tool in monitoring COVID-19, random testing is only helpful in defining epidemiological trends with a significant sample size, and the traffic through the Yukon’s points of entry falls well short of those thresholds,” said Pillai.

Pillai thanked MP Brendan Hanley and federal Minister Jean-Yves Duclos for the exception. He also thanked the Canada Border Services Agency, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the White Pass & Yukon Route, Holland America and the Borough of Skagway.

“Streamlining tourist arrivals is big news and a relief, as the Yukon tourism sector begins to once again welcome visitors from around the world to enjoy our territory,”

Pre-screening declarations filed by cruise ship passengers using the ArriveCAN app will be also be honoured throughout their trip.

Contact Haley Ritchie at