Saskatoon book store adopts rapid testing for staff

Turning The Tide bookstore in Saskatoon is using a free rapid-testing program for small businesses offered by the Saskatchewan Health Authority as the city experiences a rise in COVID-19 cases.

“We just received our first rapid test kit, so we are going to be testing our employees twice a week for COVID, for asymptomatic COVID,” owner Peter Garden said.

“I would really encourage other businesses and organizations to sign up, it’s a free program. It’s something we can all do to contribute to the safety of our community.”

Staff have also been taking extra steps such as mandatory masking and having hand sanitizer at the door.

Garden said he is worried as COVID-19 numbers climb during the fourth wave.

“We definitely welcome some safety measures to be put in place by the provincial government. Were actually disappointed that they haven’t taken steps, and have let the fourth wave get so out of control right now,” Garden said.

“None of us want lockdowns, again, but we also don’t want to see our hospitals filling up like they are now and having to cancel surgeries and overworking nurses and doctors, its not fair to them. We really need some leadership right now.”

Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce CEO Jason Aebig said businesses in the city have not been taken by surprise.

“All of these recent developments around a fourth wave are concerning, but they weren’t completely unexpected,” Aebig said.

“There’s no question that businesses learned a lot over the last 20 months about how to stay open, how to keep people employed, how to secure the safety of their customers and employees coming into their workplace,” Aebig told CTV.

Aebig said Saskatoon businesses benefited from the push to shop local throughout last year, but now is not the time to let up.

“The need to shop local and support our local business community is just as strong now as it was over the past 20 months and prior to that.

“What we, I think, need to see now is patience and patronage of these businesses that are doing their level best to serve the public and their employees and customers at the same time.”

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