Crystal Schick/Yukon News Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. They formally announced that as of Nov. 20, anyone entering the territory (including Yukoners returning home) would be required to self-isolate with the exception of critical service workers, those exercising treaty rights and those living in B.C. border towns

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. They formally announced that as of Nov. 20, anyone entering the territory (including Yukoners returning home) would be required to self-isolate with the exception of critical service workers, those exercising treaty rights and those living in B.C. border towns

Vaccinated people won’t have to self-isolate in the Yukon after May 25

Restaurants and bars will also be able to return to full capacity at the end of the month.

Due to a high vaccination rate, Premier Sandy Silver announced May 5 that travel and dining restrictions are being lifted in the territory.

As of May 3, Silver said 74 per cent of all eligible Yukoners have received their first dose.

“The nation’s eyes are on Yukon,” Silver said.

Silver said the rollout of vaccinations means that travel restrictions can be loosened this month and dining establishments will be able to return to full capacity.

As of May 25, Silver said people who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days when entering the Yukon, provided they can prove their vaccination status. Those who cannot confirm vaccine status will still need to isolate for 14 days.

Non-essential travel still not advised

Chief Medical Officer of Health Brendan Hanley cautioned that non-essential travel is still being discouraged.

“This is not an open invitation to travel outside the Yukon,” said Hanley, saying that instead, it indicates that there is a low risk of transmission when fully vaccinated. “When people do travel, I’m still asking you to do the right thing. You still must abide by all public health measures in regions in which you are staying.”

Those returning may still be screened out of high-risk areas such as hospitals, large indoor gatherings and long-term care homes. Hanley said although self-isolation is no longer a requirement, individuals returning should still self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

The exemption does not apply to children, who cannot be vaccinated, and individuals who have not yet been vaccinated. Hanley said they are working on alternative options for those groups.

Bars and restaurants increasing capacity

As of May 25 bars and restaurants can return to full capacity for indoor table service.

Dancing and “hanging out in common areas” will still not be permitted.

“These could turn into less-than-desirable situations if not handled appropriately,” Hanley cautioned. He thanked business owners for their diligence.

Rapid testing is also now being used to screen essential workers who need to travel in the territory, including flight crews and healthcare workers. Silver said Hanley’s team is currently examining if rapid testing can reliably be used in the mining industry and rural communities.

Silver said non-essential travel to Canada from outside the country remains severely restricted. He said those travelling from Alaska must now provide a negative COVID-19 test before they enter Canada. A hang-tag is now being issued to identify people transiting on the travel corridor.

“On Yukon’s highways we are deploying signage to remind travellers to remain on the travel corridor,” Silver said.

Seven new charges have been laid this week under the Civil Emergency Measures Act. Four were for failure to self-isolate, two for failure to provide a declaration and one or a failure to transit through the territory as required.

“We will see more travellers in the coming weeks, and it is important to treat them with respect,” said Silver, adding that complaints can be reported to the government’s CEMA enforcement team.

Hanley confirmed that one new case of COVID-19 has been identified in the territory. Case number 82 is positive for COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7. It is the Yukon’s only active case.

The affected person is in Whitehorse. The case is travel-related and linked to an outbreak in another jurisdiction.

“There’s no risk of exposure to other members of the public,” said Premier Sandy Silver, adding that the person followed all the precautions including self-isolation.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 can book a test online or via phone at 867-393-3083.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Coronavirus

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