'Hockey will happen': Yukon gov't gives OK to organized sports, live music
Dr. Brendan Hanley said venues must ensure there is seating for spectators to be safely spaced
Yukon health officials are lifting more restrictions related to COVID-19, giving the OK on Wednesday to organized sports and live music, starting next month.
Saturday will mark the start of phase three of the territory's reopening plan.
"Hockey will happen this winter, as well as soccer," said Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon's chief medical officer in a news conference.
"Physical activity is of course just as important, if not more so, than it ever was."
Hanley said officials will work with sports organizations to ensure that play can be done safely, based on national guidelines for each sport and Yukon's COVID-19 risk level. He said any organized sports can resume, not just hockey and soccer.
"This could be skating, figure skating, curling, any of these organized team activities, basketball — you name it."
Hanley also announced Wednesday that bars can also present live music, starting Saturday, under new guidelines. He said venues must ensure there is seating for spectators to be safely spaced.
The goal, he said, is to ensure "music keeps its distance, and that congregation around the music, or dancing, is still not allowed.
"It all comes down to how people mix and congregate."
Larger gatherings, expanded family bubbles
Other elements of phase three announced on Wednesday include the sanctioning of larger gatherings of people at outdoor events, and expansion of family bubbles.
Under current restrictions, outdoor gatherings are restricted to 50 people or fewer. Phase three will allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people, under certain guidelines for seating, sanitation, and food service, Hanley said.
"This means that with proper planning, a variety of ceremonial, entertainment or cultural events could also resume in some form," Hanley said.
Hanley said families will also be allowed to expand their social bubble starting Aug. 1.
Currently, Yukon families are allowed to form a bubble with just one other family, meaning they can visit and interact without having to physically distance. Phase three will allow them to expand the bubble to include up to five families, depending on the size.
"Keep the total number in the bubbles small — 10 to 15 people," said Hanley.
"Reducing mingling and mixing of people is what helps us reduce the chance of someone getting sick from COVID-19 and spreading it to others."
Hanley and Premier Sandy Silver also reiterated on Wednesday that phase three will see no change in restrictions on travellers arriving in Yukon. Canadians arriving from anywhere other than B.C. or the other territories will still need to isolate for 14 days on arrival.