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A mask order aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 is now in effect across Yukon, but the territory’s top doctor says enforcement of the regulation is not the first priority.

Dr. Brendan Hanley said Tuesday people will be given a chance to adapt to the order, which was announced last week as cases of the virus mounted.

At a regular weekly briefing, Premier Sandy Silver reported eight new cases of COVID-19 in Yukon since last Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases to 17 and the total number of cases to 47 since the start of the pandemic.

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The mask order requires everyone over the age of five to wear a non-medical face covering in all indoor public spaces or face a fine of up to $500, but Hanley says people will first be given a chance to adapt and he expects the new rule will be accepted quickly.

He says 200,000 masks are being made available to ensure everyone has access to them.

A 14-day quarantine period remains in place for all those entering or returning to Yukon, but as the holiday season approaches, Silver says children can be assured that Santa is still welcome.

“I know many kids around the territory are wondering how their gifts might get here in light of the self-isolation requirements and I have good news on that front,” he told the news conference.

“I can confirm that Santa is a critical worker and I know that Dr. Hanley and his team have been working very closely with (Santa’s) counterparts at the North Pole.”

Hanley also reminded children that the Elf on the Shelf will be monitoring their handwashing and physical distancing efforts throughout the festive season.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Health Canada won’t be cutting any corners as it works to accelerate the approval process for the leading candidates for a COVID-19 vaccine. The Canadian Press

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

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