Sask. to move to Step 2 of reopening roadmap Sunday

·4 min read
Retail stores and personal services businesses are among those affected by Saskatchewan's move to Step 2 on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Retail stores and personal services businesses are among those affected by Saskatchewan's move to Step 2 on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

As Saskatchewan's vaccination rate increases and COVID-19 case numbers decline, the province is set to move to Step 2 of it's reopening strategy on Sunday.

Three weeks will have passed since the province marked 70 per cent of people 30 and older getting their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and the same amount of time will have gone by since the start of the first step in the plan.

So what's changing Sunday?

For starters, retail and personal care service businesses will no longer have capacity thresholds.

The businesses do still have to abide by physical distancing guidelines, which means enough space must be available to allow customers and staff two metres of room to physically distance.

At conference halls, banquet facilities, casinos, bingo halls, movie theatres, art galleries and libraries, capacity cannot exceed 150 people.

Any occupancy level must still allow staff and customers to maintain two metres of physical distance.

Any of the above venues that serve food must also abide by the restaurant and licensed establishment guidelines from the province's reopening plan.

Restaurants

On the subject of restaurants, people who want to dine out won't have to plan for table capacity limitations, but tables at those venues must still be two metres apart, or structural barriers must be in place when physical distancing isn't possible.

If you want to dance or go to a buffet you'll have to wait, because those items in particular are still prohibited under Step 2 of the plan.

Care home visitation

Those with loved ones in care may have more opportunities to visit, as limitations there are being relaxed.

Up to four people at a time can visit while indoors and up to nine people at a time can visit while outdoors.

Visitations will be allowed for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.

All residents and visitors are required to abide by precautionary protective measures like masking, physical distancing and hand washing.

Gathering size changes

Like visitation for those in care, gathering sizes are set to increase on every level.

For private indoor gatherings, up to 15 people will be allowed in one space. Public indoor gatherings can hold up to 150 people as of Sunday.

Up to 150 people at a time will be allowed to attend private and public gatherings outdoors.

Masking among items still in place

A variety of restrictions won't be changing come Sunday, including the provincial mask mandate.

Masks are required in all indoor public spaces in Saskatchewan.

Gyms and fitness centres won't see anything change either. Those facilities are still required to ensure there's two metres of space between participants in classes or activities.

For more intense activities — like aerobics, Zumba or spin classes — three metres of space between participants is required.

There also won't be any changes to the province's rules around how many people can attend places of worship.

Attendance cannot exceed 30 per cent of seating capacity or 150 people, whichever number is lower.

People in attendance must be separated by two metres unless they are part of the same extended household group.

The current set of guidelines in schools and post-secondary institutions will remain in place until the current school years are done.

Seasonal activities, and adult and youth sport and recreation, are all allowed to continue with no limitations.

The road ahead

Saskatchewan's road to Step 3 of it's reopening plan was laid out by the province.

Step 3 can begin once three weeks have passed since 70 per cent of people 18 and older have a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and three weeks have passed since the start of Step 2 on Sunday.

CBC News
CBC News

In Step 3, all remaining restrictions will be removed except for gathering size limits and indoor masking.

The province updated its reopening strategy to include a separate threshold of 70 per cent of those 12 and older getting a first dose. Three weeks after that, gathering size limitations and indoor masking requirements would be lifted. Three weeks would have to have passed from the time Step 2 ends in order for that to happen.

"The expected timelines for lifting restrictions are being provided in advance to allow for the planning of larger public events and family gatherings like weddings," the government's website said.

"While all public health restrictions may be removed as early as July 11, everyone will have their own level of comfort with these changes."

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