After 21 new cases yesterday and a further death, today was a much better day. As of today, May 21, 2020, Saskatchewan has two new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total active cases to 106 after 15 more people have recovered. The two new cases are in the Far North. There are currently five people in hospital – two are receiving inpatient care (one in Saskatoon and one in Regina) and three are in intensive care (all in Saskatoon). Premier Moe and Dr Shahab both reminded residents of the province to continue to be aware of and pay attention to the little things like hand washing, physical distancing and staying at home if individuals are not feeling well. This is what has made it possible to keep the number of cases low in the province. “The ultimate success we have had in this province is the direct result of the efforts of the people of this province,” stated the Premier. The objective has never been to eradicate COVID-19 but lessen the number of cases to allow the health care system time to prepare facilities and staff for handling patients with the virus.
Work is underway on the next phase of the plan to re-open the provincial economy. The target date to begin Phase 3 of Re-Open Saskatchewan is June 8, 2020, but Premier Moe reminded everyone that this is a target only and depending on the situation over the next two weeks, this date could be postponed if necessary. In Phase 3, restaurants and licensed establishments will be able to open at 50 per cent capacity, however common use areas will remain closed for example buffets. In licensed establishments VLT’s, pool tables, and dance floors for example must remain closed. Gyms and fitness facilities will also be able to open for business, as will childcare facilities and places of worship – subject to guidelines that are being developed. Personal service businesses that did not open in Phase 2 are also allowed to begin providing services.
As restrictions are gradually lifted, additional information continues to be added to the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan based on direction from public health officials and input from businesses and service providers. Changes to the plan this week focus on Phase 3 and include information on restaurants and licensed establishments, gyms and fitness facilities and places of worship. The size of indoor public and private gatherings will increase to 15 people in Phase 3, while the size of outdoor gatherings will increase to 30. The increase in the size of outdoor gatherings will allow for small outdoor weddings. Small graveside memorials for individuals who have passed during the past couple of months if the families so choose, will also be able to happen.
Guidelines are currently being developed for restaurants and licensed establishments, and gyms and fitness facilities. They will be included in the updated plan, which will be available at www.saskatchewan.ca/re-open on Friday. Guidelines for the safe re-opening of places of worship will be developed in consultation with faith leaders and will also be included in updates to the plan. SARCAN is also preparing to resume its recycling operations. Beginning June 1, commercial and bulk customers will be able to bring in their recycling by appointment only. SARCAN will open to the general public on June 8.
The Premier also announced that an option for reconvening the Legislature has been forwarded to the Opposition House Leader. Since the budget is the only business the Legislature needs to be dealing with at this time, the sitting time frame does not need to be extensive, but the option the SaskParty has developed and sent to the Opposition, the Premier stated, is longer than what Alberta had allowed.