Premier Sandy Silver, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley at the Government of Yukon COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse, Yukon on June 2. Silver announced the 90 day extension of the Yukon’s state of emergency. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

State of emergency in the Yukon extended 90 days as reopening continues

The state of emergency can be ended earlier if no longer necessary, premier says

The state of emergency declared under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) has been extended a further 90 days.

Premier Sandy Silver and the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced this extension on June 12. They also announced that bars will be able to open next week and long-term care facilities will soon be able to allow more visitors.

Silver explained that the state of emergency was extended so that the government would remain in a position to act quickly should action need to be taken regarding COVID-19. He indicated that the government is committed to rescinding the state of emergency as soon as it is possible and that this was a cabinet decision.

The premier announced that bars will be able to open up again on June 19. Bars will have to develop an operational plan and submit it for approval to be allowed to open.

According to a government press release, the guidelines have already been given to bar operators to allow them time to get ready. Bars can only operate at 50 per cent capacity, and any group looking to go to a bar cannot be made up of more than 10 people.

“Live music will not be permitted at this time and recreation areas such as dart boards, pool tables, dance floors and gaming (such as pinball and video games) are not permitted to open at this time,” the release stated.

Silver also mentioned that a second individual was charged under CEMA for not following self-isolation orders. No details were provided about this case.

Only one other person has faced this type of charge. A man was convicted and fined $500 on May 5 for failing to self-isolate after traveling Outside of the territory.

Hanley went over some guidelines for allowing visitors into long-term care facilities.

There is now a staged plan to allow for visitors and currently a long-term care resident can chose one person to have approved outdoor visits with.

The next phase of this plan will allow for two visitors per outdoor visit.

Hanley addressed some concerns about opening the border to British Columbia in July as well as people driving through the territory to get home.

He noted that B.C. has a population of five million people and around 200 active cases. The odds of someone coming from B.C. having COVID-19, he said, were very low.

“The risk isn’t zero, it’s a fraction higher,” Hanley explained.

He added that the risk of a spread from the short interactions of people passing through the territory is small.

“Let people passing through, pass through,” Hanley said.

The schedule for COVID updates will be changing next week. There will now only be one update per week, given on Wednesdays at 2 p.m.

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

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