The Yukon Territory remains on track to enter Phase 2 of its reopening plan on July 1, which will allow British Columbians and Yukoners to freely travel between jurisdictions.
Premier Sandy Silver and the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley offered additional information about what Phase 2 would look like during the June 17 COVID-19 update.
Silver said the proposed July 1 start date for Phase 2 remains, barring a change in the virus’s epidemiology in BC or the Yukon. Details of what will be required from BC residents to enter the Yukon are still being developed and will be released as soon as possible.
Phase 2 will see a number of other changes.
Restaurants will be able to operate at full capacity, the headcount for outdoor social gatherings will be raised to 50 people, and dentists will be allowed to provide non-urgent and routine care during this phase.
Although not part of Phase 2, Silver reiterated that bars will be able to reopen at 50 per cent capacity on June 19, provided an approved operational plan is in place.
“I know that Yukoners are eager to return to a familiar place to socialize and catch up with friends. It can be easy to forget that we are all in the midst of a pandemic,” Silver said. “As you return to public places and socialize with other, please remember that you must continue to follow the six steps for staying safe.”
The six steps include physical distancing, frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, not gathering in large groups, limiting travel to rural areas and self-isolating if needed.
The premier said 17 applications have been turned in for the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program. The Business Relief Program has received 139 applications.
Yukon public libraries will be starting to provide different services in their communities and residents are encouraged to contact their library for more information.
Physical distancing must be adhered to when picking up books, and anything checked out will be subject to a quarantine period. This could lead to a delay in books becoming available again.
Hanley explained that although the border restrictions may be soon relaxed, it doesn’t mean they won’t be tightened again if needed.
“This will not happen with occasional cases or even outbreaks, as that is part of living under this new reality,” Hanley said. “But we would consider restrictive measures again should there be COVID spread that would stretch our capacity to contain.”
He said he was not worried about BC residents being in the Yukon.
Hanley provided some numbers of how many people were denied access to the Yukon and how many were let through. As of June 15, 4,325 people have been allowed to cross the border and 150 have been turned away.