Premier Sandy Silver and Dr. Brendan Hanley, chief medical officer of health, speak at a COVID-19 related press conference in Whitehorse on May 8. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

Yukon reopening plan set for release next week

Government-run campgrounds to open in June, be limited to Yukon residents

The first phase of the Yukon reopening plan will be released next week with hopes to get Yukoners mobile as a way to improve mental health.

Premier Sandy Silver announced plans for the announcement at the COVID-19 press conference update on May 8.

Phase one of the plan is on track for announcement on May 12, but the premier provided no additional details of the plan.

He indicated it would be a phased plan but did not clarify how many phases the plan would include.

What he did say is the plan will be formulated with the goal of minimizing the risk of a second wave of the virus and that there will be public health criteria to meet and restrictions could be reimplemented if needed.

He said other Canadian jurisdictions are relaxing measures to a level similar to the current situation in the Yukon, so the territory is not falling behind the provinces.

“We are ahead of other jurisdictions,” Silver said.

He announced that some government-run campgrounds will be opened on June 4, saying there is work to be done before then including consultation with First Nations and communities.

Silver told campers to remain vigilant, warning to only camp with people that are in your household and to bring extra water for hand-washing.

He added that campgrounds will be for the use of only Yukoners. Anyone from Outside has 24 hours to get through the territory and a new order will be issued to ensure travellers through the territory cannot use the campgrounds.

As for border restrictions, Silver said these will not yet be lifted.

“This is a marathon, not a race,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical officer of health, agreed, saying the territory needs to keep up with COVID-19 containment.

He estimated that 50 per cent of people are worried the reopening will be too quick, while the other half are worried that it will not be quick enough.

“These are the beginning stages of reopening,” Hanley said.

He announced that allied health professionals — including osteopaths, chiropractors, optometrists, naturopaths, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and registered massage therapists — will be allow to reopen soon if they can meet guidelines.

The territory also announced a new COVID-19 information line, where people can get answers to their non-medical COVID-19 questions. The number for the new hotline is 1-877-374-0425.

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

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