With the number of COVID-19 cases in the province doubling overnight, the province of Saskatchewan has made it official and declared a State of Emergency.
The declaration gives the government broad powers to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This includes measures like the ability to limit travel to or from a community or region of the province and directing that property or equipment be deployed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consulting with the Chief Medical Health Officer, the government has also made a number of new orders to reduce the risk to Saskatchewan people, prevent transmission and ensure that acute care services are preserved for residents most at risk for severe illness.
The following measures are effective immediately:
- Public gatherings larger than 50 people are prohibited;
- All restaurants, bars and event venues must limit their seating to 50 percent of capacity or up to a maximum of fifty people, whichever is lesser. All must be able to ensure social distance of one to two metres between customers. Retail spaces including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempted from this policy but must have processes to maintain a one to two-metre separation.
- All gyms, fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls are ordered to close until further notice.
- Residents are advised to limit any non-essential travel outside of Saskatchewan, with the exception of people who live in border communities and are commuting for work.
- Any licensed restaurants and taverns in Saskatchewan will be permitted to sell alcohol as an off-sale according to SLGA regulations indefinitely.
- All crown utilities will implement bill-deferral programs allowing a zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months for Saskatchewan residents whose ability to make bill payments may be impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.
- All Government of Saskatchewan ministries, agencies and Crown corporations will implement a phased-in work-from-home policy effective Monday, March 23, applicable to employees deemed non-essential. This means that any employees able to work from home should do so immediately while providing managers a period to plan for work-force continuity.
All non-urgent/elective surgeries, procedures and diagnostics will be discontinued as of March 23. This action will allow the SHA the ability to redeploy nurses and other staff and ensure medical supplies and personal protective equipment are available when needed and reduce the risk of further exposure to our care providers and patients.
The SHA will continue to provide services to patients who require emergent and urgent care. Cancer, urgent and emergent surgeries will continue as planned. Patients will be contacted regarding their scheduled service.
Parents with children in daycares should be preparing for further restrictions.