In light of COVID-19 transmission rates continuing to rise in Saskatchewan, the provincial government has implemented new public health measures to help reduce coronavirus numbers around the province.
The new measures will come into effect at midnight on Friday November 27, and remain in effect until December 17th, when they will be reevaluated.
All restaurants and licensed establishments are limited to four guests per table. If there are impermeable barriers between the tables, the tables must be placed two meters apart. If there is no impermeable barrier between tables, there must be three meter distance between all tables.
Restaurants must maintain guest/reservation information on all patrons, and the liquor service curfew in effects.
Capacity at all casinos, bingo halls, arenas, live theatres, movie theatres, and performing arts venues will be restricted to 30 people. If any of these facilities serve food or drinks, they must keep activity separated from the food and beverage service. No food or drink may be in the activity area.
Indoor public banquets, conferences, wedding and funeral receptions in public venues will be limited to 30 people. Food or drinks may not be present or served.
Private gathering sizes in the home will remain at five. If you’re immediate family is five or greater, you cannot have additional visitors. Gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged.
All team/group sports and activities have been suspended, including amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Athletes and dancers 18 years of age and under may continue practicing, and training in groups of eight or fewer, abiding by the required mask use and at least three meters of physical distancing at all times. Individual groups of eight may not share a training/rehearsal surface or space at the same time. Coaches and trainers are not included in the training group numbers as long as they are masked and physically distanced. Fitness activities and group fitness classes in groups of eight or fewer continues to be permitted, for all ages. Mask use and at least three metres of physical distancing between participants must be maintained.
Capacity at places of worship will be limited to 30 people, including weddings, funerals, and baptismal services. No food or drink may be present or served.
Premier Scott Moe says the goal of these restrictions is to be able to keep everything open as safely as possible, and avoid more economic devastation. He adds he knows more restrictions are frustrating.
“I know for many, including myself, this can be very frustrating,” said Moe. “I know we’d all like to think if we just did this one more thing, or make one more rule or one more restriction, that we could get this virus under control, but it doesn’t work that way. There is no silver bullet to controlling COVID-19.”
He adds that no amount of restrictions will work if the public doesn’t comply.
“We have to do all of it, and we have to keep doing all of it, all of the time, each and every day,” said Moe. “That’s what I am again asking every Saskatchewan resident to do.”
Mandatory, non-medical mask use will be required during all indoor fitness activities, with aquatic activities being the only exception.
Mandatory masking will be extended to all students, employees and visitors in all schools and day cares. Kids aged 0-2 are exempt from wearing masks, and kids aged 3-12 should wear a mask if they’re able to. Masks must also be worn by visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in places where the public doesn’t have access, all residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal correctional facilities.
Note that masking continues to be required in indoor public areas that have installed barriers.
Retail businesses must enhance the expectation of mask use and mitigation measures, including reduced traffic, directional flow signage, hand sanitizer, etc, through signage and staff training.
Large retail locations are required to limit customer access to 50 percent capacity or four square meters of space per person, whichever is less.
Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says he knows what impact shutting down sports will have, but says it necessary.
“While challenging, I think it is important to have a pause on sports and other activities,” said Shahab. “I would like to thank all the parents and children, and all the adults who are playing in rec leagues in really supporting Saskatchewan in pausing for 3 weeks. Obviously doing individual conditioning or conditioning in small groups, but otherwise pausing play so that we can trend these numbers down.”