The province indicated Tuesday it doesn’t want to go into a second lockdown, but the NDP says doing that for three weeks would be the best course of action to take.
Speaking at the Legislature Wednesday morning, leader Ryan Meili called for the government to take a number of measures including closing non-essential business and allow retail stores to maintain delivery and curbside service. limit essential businesses to 25 percent capacity, close sports, fitness and recreation facilities along with bingo halls and casinos and bring back and fix the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment Program.
Meili says he was hoping this moment would never come.
“I hoped that we wouldn’t have to do this, I hoped that as soon as numbers started to rise, we’d see swift action from Premier Moe and his government, I hoped he’d be honest and transparent about the reality of our situation,” said Meili. “I hoped that we wouldn’t have seen the COVID-19 pandemic get worse here in Saskatchewan, to the point that our hospitals are being overwhelmed, and contract tracing is becoming nearly impossible.”
He says he understands the effect another lockdown would have on small businesses, but he warned it could be worse if the province does nothing.
“If the Premier continues on the path he’s on, times are going to get much tougher for those businesses and their workers,” said Meili. “Scott Moe’s inaction has put the province at risk of an out-of-control second wave that will overwhelm the health system, cost lives, and cause many Saskatchewan businesses to have to close their doors for good.”
Meili added he knows pandemic fatigue has set in, but now is not the time to give up.
“We’re all sick of this, none of us want to be in a pandemic anymore, I’m tired of it, we all are, but we have to realize this is for real,” said Meili. “For the first time in Saskatchewan, it’s here in a very serious way, 240 cases yesterday, thousands of cases over the last few weeks, and a trajectory for thousands more.”
Speaking on Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe indicated that the first lockdown resulted in 70,000 jobs being lost with 15,000 still not back at work and that a second lockdown would likely result in tens of thousands of jobs being lost. While saying that, he did not rule out having to mandate a second lockdown should cases continue rising.
Another update from the province will come Wednesday afternoon. On Tuesday, 240 cases were announced with the active case total in the province now standing at 2,055 with 71 in hospital—15 of which are receiving intensive care.