COVID-19 in Saskatchewan: Five-step plan to reopen province expected to start on May 4

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The Saskatchewan government’s five-step plan to reopen the province is expected to begin on May 4.

The plan, unveiled on Thursday by Premier Scott Moe and Saskatchewan Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Saqib Shahab, will guide the province as it restarts its economy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the next few weeks, the restrictions will be gradually lifted by adding more types of businesses to the list of licensed businesses, which means they can reopen if they wish,” Moe said in a press release.

“All businesses and all public places will continue to follow physical distancing and cleaning and disinfection practices to protect employees and customers. Members of the public will have to follow the rules of physical distancing and stay at home if they are victims of COVID-19. symptoms. “

Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe and provincial chief medical officer of health Dr. Saqib Shahab released a five-step plan to reopen the province on Thursday. (Saskatchewan Media Pool)

After the plan was unveiled, Moe said the goal was to keep Saskatchewan residents safe and that businesses affected by the pandemic could stay afloat, saying his goal was not to make Saskatchewan the first province to reopen.

He said there is currently no set measure to determine when the restrictions could be tightened, saying that if there was a local push, the province would investigate to find out why and where it happened. was produced.

“It depends on the source of these cases. If these are cases, for example, that can be in a long-term care center and we determine that the cases do not come from everything that happened when phase 1 or 2 reopened thanks to our tracking contacts, it may not affect anything at all in terms of the phases we do, “said Moe.

“If we find that these cases, through aggressive follow-up of contacts, go back to a particular company or a series of companies, we will examine very closely this particular company, or the particular companies of this sector, to make sure we do everything to keep the residents of Saskatchewan safe. “

Many dates yet to be determined

The Murray Golf Course in Regina is operated by Western Golf Management. Golf courses will be among the first businesses to reopen in Saskatchewan. (Glenn Reid / CBC)

Phase 1, which is scheduled to start on May 4, will see the lifting of restrictions on certain medical services alongside a focus on outdoor recreation:

  • Medical services, including dentistry, optometry, physiotherapy, opticians, chiropody, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatments.
  • Facilities to accommodate low-risk outdoor activities, such as boating and fishing.
  • Online reservations for campsites, which will open on June 1.
  • Golf courses will reopen with restrictions starting May 15.

Phase 2, slated to begin May 19, will include the opening of retail and personal services businesses not initially authorized under the Saskatchewan emergency:

  • Clothing stores, sporting goods stores, vaping supply stores, bookstores, jewelry stores, boat and ATV dealers, accessory stores, music stores, electronics stores, pawnbrokers and travel agencies.
  • Personal services, including hairdressers, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists and acupressurists.

Businesses should continue to practice physical distance and implement screening measures if physical distance is not possible.

Jody Spychej, the owner of Ink Addiction Tattoos, is seen working on a client in February. Tattoo artists will be allowed to operate again during phase 3 of the province’s reopening plan. However, the exact date for the start of this phase remains to be determined. (Matt Garrand / CBC)

Phase 3, which will take place on a date yet to be determined, will see the reopening of the remaining personal services and a relaxation of the restrictions on public gatherings:

  • Estheticians, tattoo artists, cosmetologists, electrologists, manicures, pedicures, tanning salons, body piercing, bone grafting or scarification and other personal service providers.
  • Catering and food services, which will operate at 50% of their capacity.
  • Gyms.
  • Child care.
  • Authorized establishments.
  • The limit for public gatherings will increase to 15 people.

Phase 4, on a date not yet determined, will see other openings:

  • Casinos, bingo halls, curling rinks, swimming pools, municipal parks and playgrounds, cinemas, museums and similar facilities.
  • Seasonal programming, such as camps, recreational activities and sports activities.
  • The limit for public gatherings will increase to 30 people.

Phase 5, which Moe says will depend on factors such as the number of COVID-19 cases, will include the lifting of long-term restrictions.

Read the full province map here:

Some restrictions will remain

Long-term restrictions on high-risk areas will initially remain in place during the early stages of reopening. These measures include maintaining the current state of emergency and making recommendations against non-essential international and interprovincial travel.

Mandatory self-isolation, with the threat of fines, will also remain in place. People must isolate themselves for 14 days if they have traveled abroad, tested positive for COVID-19, or if they have come into contact with someone with the disease.

Classes will remain suspended in all public and private schools in the province, and restrictions will likely remain in place for the remainder of the school year. Moe said whether or not schools will open in the fall will depend on how well the plan is implemented, as Saskatchewan will be closely monitoring other jurisdictions where schools have opened to see what the results have been.

Visiting restrictions are still in place for long-term care facilities, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes.

Large public gatherings are still prohibited.

During the press conference, the Premier said he was not concerned that Saskatchewan would publish its plan before the other provinces, saying there would be alignment between the plans if possible.

“We are all in different places regarding how COVID-19 was treated and what the results were,” he said, noting that he had shared the plan with any provincial counterpart who had asked.

Moe says that Saskatchewan will reopen gradually and methodically. (Saskatchewan Media Pool)

Prior to the plan’s release on Thursday, Moe said his government believed it could reopen the province safely, but only “with great caution.”

“Our government takes this decision very seriously,” said Moe.

“If we move too quickly, we risk increasing the spread of COVID-19. If we move too slowly, we risk permanently damaging the livelihoods of thousands of Saskatchewan people. Companies that never reopen and jobs that never come back. “

Some small gatherings OK

He said the process will be done “gradually and methodically” and in close collaboration with the chief medical officer of health, Shahab.

Shahab said it’s okay for people to get together with friends and neighbors for something like a barbecue, but said they should do their best to limit contact to two or three households. Although there may be some risk associated with these types of contacts, he should be sure that no one in the household is sick, he said.

“Try to meet the same people in the same households for the next moment,” he said. “Don’t randomly meet three new people every day, because I think that’s where the risk increases. “

Moe said companies have done a great job in the province in maintaining strict cleaning and safety measures for customers and staff.

Shahab stressed that these steps must be followed, because although many companies can restart, this is by no means as usual.

“The risk has not gone away,” he said, as one case can result in thousands of others. “It is very important that we stay very disciplined as more and more areas open up. “

The two said it is likely that Saskatchewan will see localized COVID-19 outbreaks in parts of the province, each individual has their own role to play in taking precautions as the reopening plan goes on. continues, claiming that it belongs to all residents of flat curve Saskatchewan.

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