Back to basics; province announces additional health measures to fight COVID-19

New measures have been announced by the province as we continue to fight a high amount of COVID-19 cases. The measures are in place until December 4

As of Monday, mandatory masking in indoor places will occur in all Saskatchewan communities with a population of more than 5,000.

This includes the censuses metropolitan areas – the neighbouring communities or municipalities — situated around the largest urban centres of Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. Due to their proximity to the urban centres and high rate of retail, workplace and service integration, they will be included even if their independent populations are less than 5,000 residents meaning places like Lumsden, Regina Beach, Belle Plaine, Balgonie and Pilot Butte are included.

All Saskatchewan restaurants and licenced establishments are also required to stop serving alcohol by 10 with consumption ending at 11. All hookah and waterpipe services are no longer allowed

While transmission with school settings has been limited, it is recommended all school divisions move to level three for high schools with 600 students or more in their back-to-school plan. Level three is to reduce in-class learning.

Newly appointed Health Minister Paul Merriman says it’s time for people to once again take COVID-19 seriously.

“We all need to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously, like we did back in the spring,” said Merriman. “We need to get back to basics, back to the good practices that allowed us to be successful in controlling the spread of COVID-19 throughout most of the spring and summer. No one wants to get back to another lockdown, but we need to slow down the spread of this virus.”

Fitness facilities can continue operating under the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, but all aerobic group fitness activities are limited to a maximum of eight and are only permitted if those taking part are three metres apart throughout the activity. Individual aerobic activities can happen if all equipment is properly distanced.

Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says recent deaths in the province should serve as a reminder of why precautions are necessary.

“I think we all have to remember why we all need to take precautions, we have, over the last few days, lost four more Saskatchewan residents to COVID-19,” said Shahab. “This is why we all need to take precautions to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and those who are more vulnerable.”

When asked why the province isn’t joining Manitoba and Alberta in imposing another lockdown, Minister Merriman said whatever measures are in place, it’s up to the public to follow them.

“If we put in regulation after regulation after regulation, and there’s no compliance on it, then the onus is back on the individual,” said Merriman. “The individual responsibility on this, is the greatest responsibility out there right now. For them to be able to make sure they’re doing their part in making sure their neighbours, their family members, and their elders are safe.”

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