Masks will soon be mandatory on Whitehorse city buses

·2 min read

Come Monday, most people will be required to wear a mask or face covering while riding the bus in Whitehorse.

"Wearing a mask on transit vehicles is a small gesture ... to help keep everyone on board safe," stated Mayor Dan Curtis in a news release.

Bus riders are "packed like sardines" in the morning, Curtis told CBC's Airplay. He encouraged people to start putting a mask in their pocket in case they need it.

"We're really hoping that everyone takes this really seriously. he said."

Curtis said people will not be fined for refusing to wear a mask, but he urged people to comply in order to protect others.

"Even if you don't buy into the whole mask thing, maybe just for a while, just humour us, humour me, and please wear one," he said.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Some exemptions to mask rule

Curtis said the city made the decision after Yukon's chief medical officer said masks will soon be required in common spaces of schools.

The mayor said he anticipates more restrictions in the next few days.

There are some exemptions to the rule on public transit:

  • Anyone with an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering.

  • Persons unable to place or remove a mask covering without assistance.

  • Children under five.

  • Police or first responders in an emergency.

Additional information on how to wear, use, and store a mask is available here.

The new rule comes after the Yukon government announced its travel bubble with B.C., the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will end on Friday. As cases rise, most travellers must self-isolate in Yukon for 14 days upon their arrival.

The territory's chief public health officer is also asking residents to reconsider travel plans in light of rising COVID-19 cases across the country.

Yukon now reports 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19. One person has died in the territory.

Masks have not been deemed mandatory across the territory. However, during a press briefing Thursday, Yukon Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley said more news on masking will likely be coming.