Step 3 to start July 11 in Saskatchewan, after vaccination goal reached Saturday

·2 min read

REGINA — Saskatchewan will begin Step 3 of its reopening plan on July 11, the province announced Saturday as it reached the benchmark of inoculating 70 per cent of adults with a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The province had said it would enter that stage -- in which many public health restrictions will be lifted -- three weeks after hitting the 70 per cent milestone.

"Saskatchewan people are doing a great job protecting themselves and those around them while making sure we can reopening safely by getting vaccinated," Premier Scott Moe said in his daily pandemic update.

He also used the opportunity to urge people to keep getting vaccinations and follow through with second shots.

"Let's all stick it to COVID, let's get things back to the way they should be in our province, and let's all have a great Saskatchewan summer."

In Step 3 the only remaining restrictions will be on mass public gatherings. A mandatory masking order will also remain in place.

The update said other remaining restrictions could be removed as soon as Saskatchewan approaches 70 per cent of residents ages 12 and older having received their first vaccine dose.

The news came as the province reported 55 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the day before its second stage of reopening was due to begin.

That step removes capacity limits for businesses as long as two-metre social distancing can be maintained. Table capacity in restaurants will be removed, but there must still be two metres between tables or a physical barrier. Dance floors and buffets must remain closed.

Other restrictions that will be relaxed on Sunday include changes to the number of people allowed at gatherings. Limits on the number of people allowed in places of worship, however, will not change and will remain capped at 30 per cent of capacity or 150 people -- whichever is less.

Currently, all residents 12 and older can receive their first dose, and second dose vaccinations are open to residents 45 and older or anyone who received their first dose on or before May 1.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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