Saskatchewan says the first phase of lifting public health restrictions, including those in Lloydminster, is set to begin on May 30th.
The province says this phase can begin because over 70 per cent of Saskatchewan residents above the age of 40 have gotten their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This was the first of three targets set in the re-opening plan, with a three week buffer from the date the vaccine target is met to the date the phase will begin, as outlined by the province.
On May 30th, the limit on indoor and outdoor private gatherings will be brought back up to ten, outdoor public gatherings to 30. At places of worship, they’ll be allowed to welcome back 30 per cent of attendees, or 150 people maximum. Masking mandates will remain in place during this phase, however.
All bars and restaurants across the province can re-open, maximum of six at a table, with two meters or structural barriers between tables. VLTs will re-open, but dance floors and buffets will remain closed.
Group fitness classes involving intense training, like aerobics and spin, can resume, with three metres between participants, the plan notes.
Some places will see current restrictions continue for the time being. These include retail stores, personal care services, event facilities, casinos, bingo halls, theatres, art galleries, libraries and recreational facilities.
The same goes for primary, secondary and post-secondary same and for childcare, with all current rules remaining in place there.
Premier Scott Moe said in a statement that the province has seen the vaccine roll out speed up noticeably in the past few weeks, and by keeping this momentum going, the province will get to move in to phases two and three of re-opening quickly.
He also pointed to details like them seeing the highest daily total of vaccinations given at 13,600 and over 50 per cent of all Saskatchewan adults having their first COVID-19 vaccine dose as promising signs as well. He says this is due to people making the choice to get their vaccines, and the healthcare practitioners working hard to get the shots to people.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health says they will continue to monitor the capacity of the health care system as we get closer to that May 30th date.
They still expect all those over 18 to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by the target date of May 20th.