Part two of Phase 4 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan is set to begin on Monday.
That means libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres and live theatres will be able to reopen.
Guidelines for those businesses are included in this week’s update to the plan.
Reopening dates for other activities that are part of the fourth phase, including indoor pools and rinks, indoor sports and activities, casinos and bingo halls will be announced over the next two weeks.
“Like any other business, they will have to follow enhanced cleaning and physical distancing guidelines that have been put into place,” Premier Scott Moe said.
“Our goal continues to be to reopen as quickly as possible while doing so as safely as possible.”
As of Friday, parks and campgrounds will be allowed to open to 100 per cent capacity for overnight stays and limited-term campsites. Access will be allowed to washroom and shower facilities, but increased cleaning and disinfection must take place.
The province also announced changes to the outdoor sports and activities guidelines. If physical distancing can be maintained, activities are allowed to resume. Where distancing can’t be maintained, such as in full-contact sports, mini-leagues should be formed to allow teams to return to playing games.
As for staff in restaurants, at gyms and fitness facilities as well as personal care facilities, if they can’t maintain two metres of distance from customers, they now must wear a non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask, or a surgical mask. It is also recommended that older staff and those with a weakened immune system wear procedural/surgical asks.
As well, locker rooms, shower facilities and change rooms are now allowed to open, and change rooms can open to 100 per cent occupancy.
The most up-to-date version of the plan, which outlines provincial guidelines that must be followed, is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/re-open.
The introduction of the second part of Phase 4 will come just a week after the phase launched on Monday. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said it’s not a matter of pushing the rest of phase four, which includes opening casinos and bingo halls, back, but rather of moving the first portion of that second part of the fourth phase forward.
Shahab said he didn’t want to wait until all parts of the phase had guidelines in place allowing them to open, and rather allow sectors to reopen as guidelines are created.
“The more we learn about how Phase 3 went, it didn’t make sense to artificially delay everything until all the guidelines are developed,” he said.
“It made sense to open some of the areas. That makes it easier for businesses to reopen when they’re comfortable.”
“I will be much happier when everything is open and I’m able to quit making these reopening announcements,” Moe quipped.
Shahab said the message with Tuesday’s announcement is that it has been a systematic approach moving forward.
‘We have to be aware that it is moving forward in the new normal.”
Saskatchewan saw 11 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, with ten in the far north and one in the Saskatoon region.
As well the public Health Agency of Canada ruled that nine cases attributed to Saskatchewan will no longer be as they were from people who live outside of the province.
That means the provincial total is now 753 cases. Of those, 98 are considered active. A total of 642 have recovered.
Four people are in the hospital. Three are receiving inpatient care, while one is in intensive care in the south.
“Almost all of these new cases are related to two local outbreaks,” Moe said.
“Our hospitalization numbers remain very manageable, as they have throughout this pandemic. In both (outbreaks), SHA is working closely with communities and community leaders to control the spread.”
Those outbreaks are in Clearwater Dene Nation, where the virus was spread at a wake and funeral, and in a pair of Hutterite colonies in the southwest. Some reports suggest that also came from a funeral when Saskatchewan residents travelled to support other communities in Alberta.
“Many of those cases are secondary household cases,” Shahab said.
“Anytime there is an outbreak, you do see, for a few weeks, chains of transmission due to household contacts..”
In the southwest, he said, there is active case finding going on, contributing to that increase in numbers.
He said further small clusters may pop up, but so long as residents continue to practice physical distancing, the rate of spread should remain low.
“The message is we are looking at everything we do — whether we are eating together or praying together, maintaining that physical distance is going to be important moving forward,” Shahab said.
‘We have low overall transmission. While any case is a concern, the two outbreaks in the north have been linked to specific settings. We are seeing very low numbers of COVID-19 cases in the rest of the province.”
He warned, though, that people can’t become complacent.
As of yesterday, indoor gathering sizes increased to 30 so long as physical distancing can be maintained.
Extended household gathering sizes remain at 15. People in extended households do not need to maintain that two-metre separation and can be in closer contact. The people in an extended household group must remain consistent.