Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis wants more clarification on the upcoming lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
A week from tomorrow Yukoners will be able to show their faces in indoor public spaces and de-mask for the first time since face coverings were made mandatory in December of 2020.
A press release announcing the news last week cited decreasing case counts and increasing vaccination rates in the territory as the cause for lifting restrictions. On August fourth bars and restaurants will be able to return to business as usual at full capacity with no physical distancing. As well, self isolation rules will be dropped completely.
Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis says he is confused about the details of the recommendations and that it leaves the city in a precarious position.
Curtis says he wants clarity from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the territorial government.
“We have a transit system that has over 300,000 rides per year, and no real direction on how that would work if the fall out is that we remove masks or whatever that may be. The Canada Games Centre also has several thousand people a day. We remain concerned about the people working there and the people utilizing those facilities. So, we’re hoping to get some clarity from the Chief Medical Officer and seeing what his, or of course the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, what her recommendations would be, and we’ve always followed those, but we’re looking for some clarity in terms of the public. The public is going to hit August fourth and they have this sense and feeling of what it may look like. I’ve heard from numerous people who’ve had different perceptions of what that looks like, so I would really encourage the territorial government to ensure that all partners are reached out to in a timely fashion,” said Curtis.
According to a government of Yukon news release, “while masks will no longer be required in indoor public spaces as of August 4, the Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends that masks continue to be used in specific settings such as physicians’ offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities. Businesses may also request that masks be worn.”
Curtis says cases counts going up over the weekend despite the Yukon’s high vaccination rate is cause for concern. He says he is worried about the ramifications that lifting the mask mandate could have on vulnerable populations. He says he feels after August fourth, people should still wear masks on public transit.