The plan outlines five phases including a period after a vaccine is available, but with no firm dates attached.
“We are still on the first steps of a pathway forward,” said Premier Sandy Silver at a news conference.
Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, says the phases may take weeks to months.
“I think the first phase is a really big step,” he said.
But Silver warned stricter measures may be reintroduced if COVID-19 cases begin to rise.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “We are still in the early phases of this pandemic.”
The plan lists the “restart” phase as beginning immediately, with businesses that were ordered to close allowed to reopen as long as they submit an operational plan.
- The most immediate effect is that two households, up to 10 people in total, can interact with each other as part of a “household bubble.”
- But bars and restaurants that offer dine-in services won’t be allowed to reopen until the chief medical officer of health lifts orders restricting them from opening.
- Borders will also remain closed but residents will be allowed to travel throughout the territory more easily.
Hanley said the threat of COVID-19 to the territory remains, particularly when it is affecting neighbouring territories and provinces.
“It does not mean the threat has gone,” he said.
Hanley admitted that public health has faced criticism for opening too soon and not opening fast enough.
“It’s all about balance,” he said. “Our first priority for now is keeping the risk of importation down.”
Yukon has seen 11 cases of COVID-19 with all 11 people recovering. The last confirmed case in the territory was a month ago.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2020
The Canadian Press