We have a possible date for the removal of all remaining public health restrictions in Saskatchewan which include mandatory masking and limits on gathering sizes.
The government says the removal of the public health orders currently in effect will occur three weeks after 70 per cent of people age 12 and above have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with at least three weeks having passed since the beginning of Step Two. This means that all restrictions could be lifted as early as July 11, if that threshold is reached by June 20.
“It’s really up to Saskatchewan people and how many of us make the choice to protect ourselves and those around us and get vaccinated,” stated Premier Scott Moe during a provincial COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon. “The goal isn’t just to meet some target number we have set. The goal is to protect Saskatchewan people, so we can re-open safely.”
The original Step Three threshold of the re-open plan remains in effect. After 70 per cent of people 18 and older have received their first dose of vaccine and three weeks since the beginning of Step Two, most of the remaining public health restrictions will be lifted, such as those on restaurants, sports and recreation. Mandatory masking and gathering size limits would remain in effect until 70 per cent of people ages 12 and above have received their first dose.
“We still do need about 75,000 people who haven’t done so already to roll up their sleeves and stick it to COVID in order for us to reach this final threshold, and then we will ask people to get their second shot once its their time to do so,” Moe added.
The premier said the power of conversation will be needed to help push people to help the province reach this threshold on time.
“Tell your family and friends why you got vaccinated and why they should consider the same. That’s ultimately how we will get everything to the way it should be so we can have a great Saskatchewan summer.”
Currently, 66 per cent of those over the age of 18 have received their first dose, while 62 per cent of people 12+ in Saskatchewan have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The expected timelines for lifting restrictions are being provided well in advance to allow for the planning of larger public events and family gatherings like weddings. While all public health restrictions may be removed as early as July 11, everyone will have their own level of comfort with these changes.
While masking requirements will no longer be required under the public health order, some people may still wish to wear masks based on their own risk assessment and comfort level depending on the circumstances. Masking requirements may also still be in effect in certain workplaces at the discretion of owners or operators.
Gatherings and events
If you are organizing a larger gathering or event for later in the summer, there are some guidelines to assist in planning.
Although physical distancing will no longer be required, consider spacing and separation for those attending through messaging or crowd control barriers. All washrooms and commonly touched surfaces should continue to receive enhanced cleaning and disinfection. Employees and volunteers should be aware of public health prevention practices, such as proper sanitization, guest interaction etiquette and emergency response protocol.