WHITEHORSE – Today, the Yukon Party sent a letter to the government in support of a number of local restaurants who have requested the ability to create or expand outdoor dining areas. Recognizing the urgency of these requests, the Yukon Party also offered to work collaboratively with the government to quickly recall the Legislature and pass any legislation required to support these local small businesses.
The effects of the pandemic and the economic downturn in Yukon have created significant challenges for small business owners in Whitehorse. Restaurants have been hit particularly hard, and those that have been allowed to reopen have been faced with new challenges to their recovery as they are operating under strict guidelines that limit their capacity.
“While everyone recognizes the importance of these public health measures, capacity limitations will add significant pressures on an already very competitive industry that had limited profit margins in the best of times,” said Stacey Hassard, MLA for Pelly-Nisutlin. “In short, a business with half the customers will be less sustainable in the long run.”
Enabling these restaurants to create or expand patio space would allow for more customers while still adhering to physical distancing restrictions. Local media reported that one of the obstacles for fulfilling these requests are limitations under the Motor Vehicles Act. Given this, the Yukon Party supports the immediate reconvening of the Legislature so we can quickly pass the amendments while allowing for democratic oversight of any changes to the territory’s laws.