The Saskatchewan Government says they will be ramping up COVID-19 related public health measures, based on transmission patterns observed across the province.

Health officials have noted that while trends remain relatively stable, case rates continue to create significant, on-going community transmission and increasing pressure on health care services, according to their information. To fight this, more restrictions are being brought in on December 17th, December 19th and December 25th, and will be added on to existing measures announced in November.

On the 17th, private gatherings will be limited to immediate family only. Single people are allowed to visit with one, consistent household of fewer than five individuals. Co-parenting situations can go ahead as normal, as can caregiver and support services.

Casinos to close, personal services capacity limited December 19th and on

On the 19th, casinos and bingo halls will close, and personal services may operate at 50 per cent capacity, including staff and clients. Those services are defined as things like hairdressers or barbers, esthetics, massage therapy, acupuncture, tattooing, among others.

Event venues, conference facilities, arenas, arts venues, museums, movie and live theatres and banquet facilities can still have up to 30 people in attendance. Food or drink cannot be served unless explicitly okayed in the Saskatchewan public health orders, and guests must remain seated for the entire performance.

Numbers for weddings and funeral ceremonies and places of worship is 30 individuals only. Concurrent services may not occur within multiple locations within one facility.

Retail capacity cap starting December 25th

Starting Christmas Day, retailers must limit their capacity to 50 per cent, with larger stores with square footage over 20,000, having to further drop to 25 per cent.

“Re-open Saskatchewan guidelines have been effective at reducing transmission in those settings where we have implemented measures like restaurants and retail settings,” Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Saqib Shahab says. “It’s the in-between places, the social settings, where COVID-19 transmission is happening. In our breakrooms and staff rooms, by inviting new people into our homes, we are letting our guard down. We can still celebrate the holiday season. After a difficult year, it’s more important than ever to connect with loved ones but it must be done at a safe distance or virtually. Share time with friends and family but keep everyone safe.”

Certain existing public health orders remain in place. Public health continues to emphasize working from home, whenever possible, that only one member of a household do required shopping, and limit shopping to essential items as much as possible.  All non-essential interprovincial travel is still discouraged.

Rules for licensed establishments, sports, fitness or dance places of worship and mandatory masking remain in place.

All of these guidelines will stand until January 15, 2021, after which they will be reassessed by the provincial Chief Medical Health Officer.