Saskatchewan is planning to lift all existing COVID-19 health orders, including mask mandates and gathering size limits, as of July 11.
The announcement was officially made June 20, anticipating that Saskatchewan can move ahead to step three of the province’s “Re-Opening Roadmap” early next month. High vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 case counts are listed by the government as reasons for the change.
"We are able to make this announcement because so many Saskatchewan residents have done their part by getting vaccinated, so I'd like to say thanks to Saskatchewan people,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.
“Over the past 15 months, Saskatchewan residents have diligently followed public health guidelines and restrictions, and over the past months they have followed through by getting vaccinated."
The move to step three was announced despite the province not having met the vaccination targets it had itself announced earlier in the spring. The Saskatchewan government had previously announced it would go into phase three only after 70 per cent of people 12 years old and over received vaccines - at the time of the announcement, Saskatchewan had only reached 69 per cent in that group. Just under one million doses of vaccine, including first and second doses, have been administered in Saskatchewan as of June 21 - about 140,000 fewer doses than in Manitoba.
Step two of the province’s plan went into effect June 20, seeing limits for gatherings loosened but still in place. In-person gatherings have increased capacity, with private indoor gatherings allowed to increase from 10 to 15 people maximum. Public indoor gatherings can now have up to 150 people, as can all outdoor gatherings public or private.
Capacity limits at retail and personal care services have been lifted, as have limits on table capacity in restaurants - though tables must still be two metres away from each other and dance floors and buffets are still closed. Capacity limits remain the same for Saskatchewan churches, while conference facilities, movie theatres, libraries, casinos and bingo halls can all open up for up to 150 people.
Seasonal activities and adult and youth sports and recreation can now go on with no restrictions as of June 20. Long-term care homes can allow four visitors indoors and nine for outside visits, as long as all residents and visitors wear masks, distance and sanitize their hands.