MLAs returning to Regina next week amid increasing COVID-19 cases

All 61 MLAs are expected in Regina next week for the provincial budget, but the Opposition NDP is questioning whether it’s a smart thing to do.

“With the variants, the risk of an outbreak in the legislature or any workplace is much higher than it was,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili.

Currently, travel is not advised to or from Regina because of the high number of COVID-19 variant cases.

The premier said precautions will be taken in the house.

“The spring sitting is going to look an awful lot like the fall sitting with members physically-distanced like we were in the fall. About half the MLAs will be in the assembly at any one time,” said Premier Scott Moe.

Meilie says they have asked for a virtual meeting option for MLAs not comfortable with gathering in a large group.

The House of Commons in Ottawa is using a secure version of Zoom. The Saskatchewan government says it would take a lot to make it work in the legislature.

“A tremendous amount of resources and staff support and technological support in order to do that,” said Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison.

The premier used Zoom this week as part of his COVID-19 briefing. The NDP say it’s being used as a safe meeting option all over the world.

One of the expectations is that MLAs will not leave Regina until after the travel advisory of lifted. It’s something that the premier and cabinet are abiding by currently and that will come under close scrutiny.