Reopening Sask.: Guidance on mask use, health policies updated with restrictions set to lift

The Government of Saskatchewan released new guidance for mask use and other safety measures under Step Three of the Reopening Roadmap, which will remove all public health orders on July 11.

“After 485 days of the government telling you how to live your life, all of those restrictions will end,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Wednesday.

Mask use will no longer be required in indoor spaces, but the province said masking will remain an option for all residents. Individual businesses and facilities will be allowed to implement their own masking policies.

“If you enter a facility that requires a mask, patrons must respect the decision of the business and either comply or choose not to visit the establishment,” the province said in a news release.

Policies at businesses and workplaces will also be individually determined by Occupational Health and Safety plans.

The province said prekindergarten to Grade 12 schools will return to regular operations for the 2021-22 school year. Licensed child care facilities can also return to regular pre-pandemic operations on July 11.

The updated guidance also reminded that children under 12 cannot be vaccinated and remain at risk.

“Children can contract, transmit and become ill with COVID-19 though the risk for serious health outcomes is lower than older populations. If you are fully vaccinated, all activities with children will be considered lower risk,” the province said.

Moe noted that while the removal of restrictions marks a big step forward for the province, the battle with COVID-19 is not over.

“Although the restrictions are coming to an end, COVID is not,” Moe said. “This fight against COVID does need to continue, but it will shift into a new and somewhat different phase.”

The premier also said Wednesday’s press conference would be the final regularly scheduled COVID-19 briefing. Updates on COVID-19 in the province will happen as necessary moving forward, if the situation changes.

The provincial state of emergency, which was put into place in March 2020, will also end on July 11.

CARE HOME VISITATION

Saskatchewan long-term care and personal care home will be allowed to welcome back an unlimited number of visitors and family members for their residents, as of July 11.

The province said COVID-19 screening and rapid testing will remain in place for visitors at these facilities. Masks and physical distancing are strongly encouraged “especially if not fully vaccinated.”

Staff will also continue to take precautions, including masking, screening, rapid testing and using of personal protective equipment.