Sask. unveils plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions

Saskatchewan’s five-point plant to re-open the province from COVID-19 restrictions will begin May 4 while maintaining current limits on public gathering size, physical distancing and travel.

As restrictions are lifted, the chief medical health officer will monitor the number of positive cases and other factors to determine if further phases should be implemented.

Only the first two phases have firm dates attached to them and the others will follow depending on the virus spread.

The first phase will allow medical services with precautionary measures. This includes dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatment.

Low-risk outdoor recreational activities will also be allowed, including fishing and boat launches, golfing with physical distancing as of May 15 and campgrounds and parks on June 1. Online reservations for provincial parks will begin May 4 and there will be strict guidelines for park and campground operation.

Public gathering size remains at 10.

The second phase begins May 19.

This phase allows retail businesses and selected personal services to re-open.

Retail businesses include clothing and shoe stores, flower shops, sporting goods stores, recreational vehicle dealers, gift stores, jewelry stores, toy stores, music and entertainment stores, pawn shops, travel agencies and vaping supply shops.

Personal services that can re-open include hairdressers and barbers, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists and acupressurists.

All businesses are expected to maintain physical distancing practices and if that isn’t possible then measures such as gloves and face masks should be used.

Some businesses will be affected by specific protocols. At clothing stores, for example, trying on clothes won’t be allowed and staff will have to limit customers touching the merchandise.

Phase three re-opening will include other personal services such as estheticians, tattoo artists and manicurists.

Restaurants, bars and food services can open at 50 percent capacity, but buffets will not be allowed. Recreational areas such as dance floors and pool tables won’t be open because it isn’t possible to physically distance.

Child-care facilities will be allowed up to 15 children per building space, and those that share a building with long-term care or personal care must have a separate private entrance and space.

Gyms and fitness facilities can re-open under physical distancing and stringent cleaning protocols.

At this stage, the size of public and private gatherings can go up to a maximum of 15.

Phase four will see indoor and outdoor recreation and entertainment facilities re-open. This will include swimming pools, casinos, theaters, seasonal camps and athletic activities. The gathering size will increase to 30.

At phase five, the plan considers lifting long-term restrictions such as gathering size.

Throughout the phases the plan calls for protective measures for vulnerable populations, people to continue working from home if they can and enhanced cleaning and disinfection in all workplaces, public spaces and recreational facilities.

For further details, including specific guidelines for each phase, information for employers, and how to use personal protective equipment properly, the full plan can be found at Saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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