While Yukon will open its borders to Northwest Territories residents on July 1, the NWT says it won’t make any reciprocal changes to its own travel restrictions.
On Wednesday, leaders in Yukon said residents of British Columbia, the NWT, and Nunavut will be allowed to enter from July 1 without self-isolating on arrival.
“We can’t keep Yukon cocooned from the rest of the country until a vaccine is found,” the territory’s chief medical officer of health stated.
However, on Thursday, the NWT government told Cabin Radio it would be making no changes to its own restrictions.
“We do not have plans to alter our self-isolation or travel restriction protocols at this time,” said Mike Westwick, a spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer in the NWT.
“In our public health assessment, [the restrictions] remain essential to continuing to protect the territory from Covid-19 – and especially to prevent outbreaks in remote communities – while allowing activities folks have been missing to get going again safely,” Westwick said by email.
At the moment, the NWT has a “travel bubble” with Nunavut allowing travel without self-isolation. Residents returning to the NWT from anywhere else must self-isolate for two weeks unless an exemption is granted. Visitors must have an exemption (for work purposes, for example) to travel within the NWT and must self-isolate unless instructed otherwise.
The NWT’s decision not to reciprocate has some significant implications for NWT and Yukon residents hoping to take advantage of the Yukon’s easing of restrictions.
From July 1, here’s what will happen:
- NWT residents travelling to Yukon won’t have to self-isolate when they get there, but will still have to self-isolate for two weeks on their return home.
- Yukon residents travelling to the NWT will have to self-isolate when they get there, but will not need to do so on their return west.
There have been no new cases of Covid-19 in Yukon or the NWT since mid-April. However, Yukon is granting unrestricted travel access to residents of BC, which continues to report new cases daily.
As of Thursday afternoon, BC had reported 14 new cases in the past 24 hours. In total, the province has had 2,849 reported cases. Of those, 519 have required hospitalization and 171 people have died.