With COVID-19 numbers in Saskatchewan still not at an acceptable level, the province is extending the public health measures issued on December 17 until January 29.
- Private, indoor gatherings remain limited to immediate household members only.
- People may meet and greet outdoors with up to 10 people only, provided physical distancing between households can be maintained.
- The public health orders for licensed establishments; sports, fitness and dance; places of worship; and mandatory masking remain in place.
- All non-essential interprovincial travel is discouraged.
During the government’s COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe said the plan is not changing for now because the current measures were having a positive effect in lowering case numbers before the holidays.
“However since Christmas and New Year’s, we have seen case numbers on the rise again. This is why these restrictions are being extended for at least an additional two weeks,” explained Moe. “They will have to be re-evaluated at that time based on what the case numbers show.”
That decision will be made by Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab when he will choose whether restrictions will be renewed, revised or lifted.
The province’s seven-day average of daily new cases is up to 321, one of the highest rates of active COVID-19 cases per capita in the country.
When asked why the government won’t bring in additional restrictions to help further reduce transmission numbers, Moe said there are consequences to that, too.
“There are consequences to individuals in our communities across the province when it comes to mental health, there’s consequences to our youth with their access to recreation opportunities,” added Moe. “The measures that are in place are not insignificant by any stretch.”
Dr. Shahab said unless everyone pulls together, COVID-19 comes back with a vengeance, which is what’s happening right now.
“Unless we can collectively return to our very cautious behaviours that allowed us to do so many things that we saw in mid-December, we will not be able to reverse this trend,” he stated. “Unfortunately, we would then have to recommend several measures which could be quite significant.”
Other provinces have taken that route in order to try and control rising COVID-19 cases. Quebec is a couple days into a province-wide curfew that will last four weeks, while Ontario has declared a state of emergency and has issued a stay-at-home order.
Saskatchewan’s decision comes as the province announces 248 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday with the active case count sitting at 3,752.
(With files from Moises Canales)