Press release from 2020 Arctic Winter Games Host Society
Joint statement from the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games Host Society, Arctic Winter Games International Committee, Government of Yukon, City of Whitehorse, and Chief Medical Officer of Health
Today the Arctic Winter Games Host Society, with the support of the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse, announced that the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games have been cancelled following a recommendation from Yukon’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Cancelling the 2020 Arctic Winter Games was determined to be the most responsible precautionary measure to address concerns around the spread of COVID-19 and is supported by the Arctic Winter Games International Committee.
Yukon’s medical system has been and remains well prepared to manage suspected cases of COVID-19 that may arise in Yukon. While there are no cases of COVID-19 in Yukon and the risks low, other regions are experiencing unexpected community spread of the virus. With up to 2000 visitors anticipated to arrive in Whitehorse for the Arctic Winter Games, necessary steps must be taken to ensure the health and safety of Yukoners and visitors to the territory.
The organizers and co-hosts are disappointed to have to make this unfortunate decision and express deep gratitude to all those involved in preparing for the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games.
“The decision to cancel the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games was not made easily but while we are disappointed, we are acting responsibly by following the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. We will be meeting with the Host Society’s Board of Management, our funding partners and stakeholders over the coming days to build a plan for decommissioning the Games.”
– 2020 AWG Host Society President George Arcand
“The Arctic Winter Games has been an important part of developing athletes and communities across the north for 50 years,” said Flynn. “We are all looking forward to the next 50 and thank our partners for putting our Arctic Winter Games Family’s safety first.”.
– Arctic Winter Games International Committee President John Flynn
“It is out of an abundance of caution that today, as the Chief Medical Officer of Health, responsible for public health in the Yukon, I have recommended the cancellation of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games that were scheduled to be held here in Whitehorse beginning next week. I am making this recommendation out of concern for the health and safety of Yukoners, of all athletes, staff, volunteers and families, and for their home communities throughout the circumpolar North. COVID-19 is a contagious disease that spreads from person to person rapidly through respiratory secretions. In a setting like the Arctic Winter Games, even a suspected case would be devastating. It is with a heavy heart that I have had to make this recommendation. It is the responsible recommendation, and it is very unfortunate.”
– Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Catherine Elliott
“Our government supports following the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation. We believe this is the most responsible course of action in light of concerns around the spread of COVID-19. This is a precautionary measure that is in the best interests of our athletes, support staff, families, and communities across the circumpolar North. We know how much effort has gone into preparing for these games. We thank all those who have helped to organize and prepare for them.”
– Premier Sandy Silver
“We support the difficult but responsible decision to cancel the Games. Our community really stepped up for this event and I want to thank the nearly 2000 volunteers for their efforts and preparation for these Games.”
– Mayor of Whitehorse Dan Curtis
- The risk for COVID-19 remains low in Yukon and there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in the territory.
Date of publication: 8 Mar 2020
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