Are you ready to reopen, Saskatchewan?
The provincial government announced Saturday that the target threshold for Step 3 of its reopening plan has now been met.
That means the third stage of the plan can begin on July 11 — three weeks after Step 2, which begins Sunday.
It will see the majority of public health measures related to COVID-19 lifted.
In the reopening plan originally unveiled in May, the province said Step 3 could begin only once 70 per cent of Saskatchewan residents aged 18 and older had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and at least three weeks had passed since the start of Step 2.
The 70 per cent target for those 18 and up has now been met, the province announced in Saturday's COVID-19 update.
The first-dose vaccination rate for all eligible people — those 12 and up — is now 68 per cent. The rate of eligible people now fully vaccinated is 25 per cent.
"Saskatchewan people are doing a great job protecting themselves and those around them while making sure we can reopen safely by getting vaccinated," Premier Scott Moe said in a Saturday news release.
As the province continues its reopening, "I'm urging people to continue to get vaccinated, and to get that second shot just as soon as it's your turn," Moe said.
Under Step 3 of the plan, most public health measures will be lifted. The mandatory masking order and restrictions on mass gatherings will remain in place.
Those remaining restrictions may be lifted when the province reaches a 70 per cent first-dose vaccination rate for all residents age 12 and up, the province says.
7-day new case average down to 78
The number of new COVID-19 cases dropped day-over-day Saturday, as the number of vaccines climbed, the province announced in its daily COVID-19 update.
Only 55 new cases were recorded, a drop from 98 new cases on Friday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is now 78.
The new cases were in the following regions:
Far northwest: two.
Far northeast: two.
North central: one.
Central west: one.
Central east: five.
South West: one.
South central: three.
Residence information is pending for four other cases.
The province administered a total of 19,737 COVID-19 vaccines on Friday — a new daily record.
The province is encouraging residents in Saskatchewan to continue watching for their eligibility for a second vaccine dose. While one dose of a vaccine offers protection against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the second dose is important, especially in protecting against the delta coronavirus variant, the province notes.
As of June 24, anyone over the age of 12 will become eligible for their second dose 28 days after their first dose.