Sask. holds final weekly COVID-19 update, state of emergency to end

Saskatchewan officials held their final regularly scheduled COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, as all COVID-19 restrictions are set to lift Sunday.

The provincial state of emergency, in place since March 2020, will end on July 11. The mask mandate, in place province-wide since Nov. 17, will also end.

Premier Scott Moe said updates on COVID-19 in the province will happen as necessary moving forward.

“This Sunday, after 485 days of public health orders and restrictions being in place. After 485 days of the government telling you how to live your life. All those restrictions will end,” Moe said Wednesday.

The premier reminded residents that although restrictions are ending, the COVID-19 pandemic is not. He said the fight against COVID-19 is shifting into a new phase.

“Instead of trying to control the COVID infection rates through government impose restrictions and government rules, we can now control COVID through vaccines,” Moe said.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab continued to encourage hesitant residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – reminding those unvaccinated that they remain the most at risk.

“Age is no longer the largest factor in determining your risk [of getting] COVID,” Dr. Shahab said. “Whether or not you're vaccinated, if you're fully vaccinated you are very well protected. If you are not vaccinated, you're at risk, and it is an unnecessary risk.”

The premier thanked Saskatchewan health care employees, essential workers and all residents for being patient and abiding by public health orders since March 2020.

He thanked Dr. Shahab with a handshake, one Moe said he has been looking forward to for more than a year.

“I was thinking back to a time, likely last summer at some point when I said, ‘You know what, I look forward to a point in time when I would be able to shake your hand and say thank you for the effort that you had made,’” Moe said. “So I was hoping I'd take the opportunity today to shake your hand and thank you properly for the effort that you have made on behalf of all Saskatchewan residents.”

The province will continue to report COVID-19 related data daily on its dashboard following July 11.