As Dempster ferries open, Yukon-N.W.T. isolation exemptions begin

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A car travels on the Dempster Highway. Ferries on the highway opened Wednesday, meaning that travellers heading from Yukon to the N.W.T. can now apply for an exemption to the N.W.T.'s self-isolation requirements. (iStock - image credit)
A car travels on the Dempster Highway. Ferries on the highway opened Wednesday, meaning that travellers heading from Yukon to the N.W.T. can now apply for an exemption to the N.W.T.'s self-isolation requirements. (iStock - image credit)

It's official: travellers from Yukon headed to the N.W.T. can now apply to skip self-isolation, as both ferries on the N.W.T.'s side of the Dempster Highway have begun their service for the year.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic over a year ago, all travellers entering the N.W.T., including Yukon travellers, have been subject to a 14-day self isolation. Later it was announced that fully vaccinated travellers can leave isolation after eight days and a negative COVID-19 test.

Then, last week, the N.W.T. government announced a relaxation of its quarantine rules for travellers from Yukon and said the rules would kick in when both Beaufort Delta ferries began operations.

The exemption process applies to travellers from Yukon, regardless of their vaccination status.

In Yukon, fully vaccinated travellers are no longer subject to self-isolation requirements.

Must apply for exemption request

N.W.T. residents and non-residents arriving from Yukon will still have to submit a self-isolation plan and exemption request through Protect NWT.

Before being declared exempt from self-isolation requirements, they must receive an approval letter from the chief public health officer.

Travellers also must have been in the Yukon for at least 14 days before heading to the N.W.T.

If people have transited through another jurisdiction besides Yukon on their way to N.W.T., they won't qualify for an exemption. It's the same process already in place for travellers arriving from Nunavut.

People who have already arrived in the N.W.T. from Yukon will be able to apply for the exemption retroactively.

Air North's flight from Whitehorse to Yellowknife is still suspended, meaning travellers must either drive the Dempster Highway from the Beaufort Delta region or hop on a plane from Inuvik in order to get to the Yukon directly from the territory.

Drivers should know that the Mackenzie River ferry's first trip at the north shore begins at 8:15 a.m. daily and the last trip is at 11:15 p.m. The first trip at the south shore is at 8:30 a.m., with service ending at 11:45 p.m.

The Peel River ferry opens at 9:15 a.m. and the last trip at the south shore is at 12:45 a.m.

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