The NWT will allow more travellers entering from Yukon to secure exemptions from isolation, the territory announced in a news release on Wednesday.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola said the change would come into effect as soon as the Dempster Highway’s ferry operations begin.
Travellers arriving from the Yukon, whether or not they are NWT residents, will still need to submit a self-isolation plan and request an exemption through Protect NWT. They must received an approved exemption letter from Dr Kandola’s office before the exemption takes effect.
“Travellers applying for an exemption must have been in the Yukon or the NWT for at least the past 14 days. They will not qualify for an exemption if they have transited through another jurisdiction outside the Yukon or the NWT on their way to the NWT,” the territory said in a statement. “This is the same process currently in place for travellers arriving from Nunavut.”
If you have already arrived in the NWT from Yukon, you can ask for a retroactive exemption by contacting Protect NWT.
To receive an exemption, you can’t be a contact of a person with Covid-19, be part of a Covid-19 outbreak, or have any symptoms of the disease.
You aren’t eligible if you’re coming from a community with travel restrictions in place, where Covid-19 community spread is taking place, or a Yukon camp or work site with out-of-territory workers.
The exemption rules apply regardless of vaccination status. Household members of an exempted traveller will also be exempt from isolation requirements.
Beaufort Delta residents, in particular, had been seeking this kind of change for months, arguing their freedom of movement was severely restricted without easier travel to and from Yukon by road.
“We are taking a measured approach to easing our public health measures,” said Kandola. “I am now pleased that we have taken another step forward in our pandemic response.
“As we continue to offer vaccines to our eligible population and more NWT residents build up immunity to Covid-19, we will explore ways to reduce restrictions when the scientific evidence supports it and it is safe to do so.”
Speaker of the House Frederick Blake Jr, who represents the Mackenzie Delta in the territorial legislature, thanked the NWT government for making the change as he began proceedings in the legislature on Wednesday.
“Everybody up in the Delta’s very happy right now,” said Blake. “I’m sure Canadian Tire will be empty by next week.”