Sask. lowers gathering limits in new COVID measures

Saskatchewan is imposing tighter restrictions on residents ahead of the holidays.

As of Thursday, Dec. 17, at midnight, private indoor gatherings are limited to immediate household members, while outdoor gatherings can have up to 10 people if physical distancing can be maintained.

Single people can meet with one, consistent household of fewer than five people. Co-parenting arrangements may continue.

As of Saturday, Dec. 19, at midnight, casinos and bingo halls will close. Personal services such as hair salons and massage therapy can operate at 50 percent capacity, including staff and clients. Event venues such as arenas and theatres will be limited to 30 people who must remain seated. Food and beverages are not permitted unless the order allows otherwise.

Effective Dec. 25, retailers must reduce capacity to 50 percent and large retailers over 20,000 sq. feet are limited to 25 percent. Details are available in the public health orders.

These orders are in addition to the one currently in effect until Dec. 17 and will remain in effect until Jan. 15, 2021.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said public health measures so far have been effective.

“It’s the in-between places, the social settings, where COVID-19 transmission is happening,” he said. “In our break rooms and staff rooms, by inviting new people into our homes, we are letting our guard down.”

On Dec. 14, there were two more deaths, for 91 in total, 124 people in hospital and 12,238 positive tests. Of those, 7,767 are considered recovered and 4,380 active.

Twenty-seven of the hospitalized are in ICU, including six in the north-central region, nine in Saskatoon, 11 in Regina and one in the southwest.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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