Government sets firm date for phase 1 of Re-Opening Roadmap after recording setting vaccination day

The Saskatchewan Legislature. -- Herald File Photo

The provincial government says phase one of the Re-Opening Roadmap will commence on May 30 after the province surpassed its first vaccine threshold on Saturday.

A total of 13,651 residents received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday—the largest single-day total since the vaccine rollout began. That means 71 per cent of Saskatchewan residents ages 40 and older have now received their first dose, which paves the way for phase one to begin in three weeks.

In a video message posted online, Premier Scott Moe thanked healthcare workers for their hard work in delivering and administering vaccine doses. He also thanked Saskatchewan residents who willingly got vaccinated.

“We are able to move forward with Step One of the Re-Opening Roadmap because so many Saskatchewan people are doing their part and they are getting vaccinated, and because we are all following the public health orders and the guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Moe said in the video. “The road back to normal runs right through our vaccination clinics or pharmacies.”

Once May 30 arrives, household bubbles can expand to 10 people, public indoor gatherings can expand to 30 people, and public outdoor gatherings can expand to up to 150 people. Restaurants will also be allowed to seat six customers at a table, and places of worship can have 150 people in attendance, or up to 30 per cent of their capacity. Gyms and fitness centres can also resume intense group fitness classes. The province-wide mask mandate will remain in place.

The new orders will apply to all parts of the province, including Regina and the surrounding communities.

Moe vowed Saskatchewan’s vaccination rate would only increase in the weeks ahead, but he still urged residents to keep following public health orders regarding social distancing and mask usage.

The government released their three-step plan for reopening on May 4. It called for at least 70 per cent of residents ages 40 and older to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before step one could commence. The number stood at 65 per cent at that time.

Phase Two will begin once 70 per cent of residents ages 30 and older have received their first dose, and at least three weeks have passed since the start of Phase One. The government estimates Phase Two could begin as early as the third week in June.

Once Phase Two starts, all restrictions on youth and adult sports will be lifted, and up to 15 people will be able to gather privately indoors. Capacity thresholds on retail and personal care services will be lifted, as will table caps for restaurants and bars. However, physical distancing requirements will still be in effect for all businesses.

Phase Three will begin once at least 70 per cent of adult residents have received their first vaccine dose.

As of May 8, roughly half of all adult Saskatchewan residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 88 per cent of those in the 80-plus age category, and 86 per cent of those in their 70s.