New restrictions will further limit gatherings, funerals, weddings and late nights at the bar – Yukon News

Yukoners will call it early evening on Jan. 18, when new COVID-19 restrictions come into effect that limit gatherings, events and require bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m.

The new measures, announced by the government on January 14, aim to combat the rapid spread of Omicron and reduce contact between individuals. While Yukoners are recommended to implement them immediately, they will become binding on Tuesday.

“We are going through a critical time here in the territory as we prepare for the impact that other jurisdictions across Canada and the world are experiencing due to the Omicron variant. These new public health measures are necessary to limit pressure on our health care system and prevent it from being overwhelmed,” Premier Sandy Silver said in a statement.

The new temporary measures include:

  • Limit all private and public gatherings to two households up to a maximum of 10 people, including recreational team sports; group fitness; group recreation and leisure activities; and in bars and restaurants, which remain limited to six people per table;
  • postpone all indoor events, including funerals and weddings;
  • requiring casinos to remain closed; and
  • forcing bars and restaurants to close no later than 10 p.m.

Based on data from Ontario and British Columbia, the Yukon is gearing up for the full impact of the Omicron wave in the weeks ahead. An increase in hospitalizations and a shortage of healthcare workers are predicted.

Yukon’s test positivity percentage jumped from 8% in December to 40% by January 11. The national rate was 30% on January 10.

Omicron is now the dominant variant in the territory. Healthy people who are fully vaccinated, including booster shots, are more likely to have milder symptoms.

In addition to the new restrictions, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Elliott recommends employers promote work-from-home policies where possible, encourage staying at home when sick and offer support for employees affected by self-isolation.

Yukon Paid Sick Leave Reimbursement provides up to 10 days pay for workers who are sick, self-isolating or caring for other household members due to COVID-19 and is available to employers or to self-employed workers.

“These new measures are necessary to reduce the number of people who will become seriously ill and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID while maintaining health and well-being, to the greatest extent possible,” Elliott said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at [email protected]

Sara H. Byrd