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Veterans will be remembered 'a little bit differently' in Yukon this year, amid COVID-19 restrictions

Remembrance Day will be scaled back this year, in order to follow territorial health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the president of Royal Canadian Legion branch in Whitehorse.

Organizers are looking into virtual ceremonies, precautions for poppy distribution

People who distribute poppies may be seated behind plexiglass barriers this year. (Steve Silva/CBC)

Remembrance Day will be scaled back this year, in order to follow territorial health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the president of Royal Canadian Legion branch in Whitehorse.

"Just because we're remembering a little bit differently doesn't mean we're not remembering," said Joe Mewett. 

There won't be a large ceremony at the Canada Games Centre as in previous years, he said, noting the cap on the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings. Instead, organizers are looking into holding multiple events in smaller venues and on different days.

There will be an event on Remembrance Day, and the plan is to live-stream it, Mewett said.

"Whether or not we officially advertise it [the in-person event] is yet-to-be-seen because we don't want large crowds."

Instead of veterans visiting schools to participate in assemblies and ceremonies, organizers may create videos of veterans giving speeches, which would be made available to educators. 

Mewett said organizers aren't sure if they'll be able to go to seniors' centres for events, so they're also thinking about making and sharing prerecorded videos with them.

'Things change and you adapt'

The Poppy Campaign, a fundraiser which typically starts the last Friday of October, is returning this year, and organizers are working to see if business owners will allow poppy taggers — the people who give out poppies — to set up inside. 

Mewett said they will set up plexiglass screens for poppy taggers to sit behind.

He said veterans and their family members have been understanding of the changes taking place this year.  

"Similar to going into war or peacekeeping or whatever, things change and you adapt. That's exactly what we're doing," said Mewett, himself a veteran who served in the Canadian Military for 30 years. 

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