The Saskatchewan government has released its five-phase plan to begin re-opening businesses and services in the province, which will begin its first phase on May 4 with the reinstatement of some medical clinics and outdoor recreation.
The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan will be a gradual approach, said Premier Scott Moe and the province’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab in their provincial address on April 23.
Each phase will be re-evaluated as the plan progresses, and may be subject to adjustments as restrictions are lifted and officials monitor the effect on the province’s health.
“Without having dates on Phases Three, Four, and Five, I think that what that speaks to is those dates will be determined as per the results that we see with the implementation of Phase One and Two,” said Moe. “I don’t think we would be looking much past the next phase over the course of the coming months.”
Over the next few weeks, businesses will be added to the allowable services list and given the option to re-open to the public if they choose.
During the re-opening process, all public spaces will still be expected to practice social distancing methods and continue to sanitize surfaces for the protection of employees and the public.
Phase One of the plan will begin on May 4, with the re-opening of medical services that are currently restricted under the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s public health order. This includes dentistry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy, and chiropractic services.
These clinics will resume regular practice for the public.
Phase One will also include reinstating access to low-risk outdoor activities, such as fishing and boat launches, provincial parks, and golf courses.
Golf services will still be subject to social distancing practices and will open beginning May 15.
Online camping reservations will be available on June 1.
Phase Two will begin on May 19 and will focus on re-opening some retail businesses and personal services that are currently deemed non-essential.
Retail businesses that may re-open include clothing and shoe stores, flower shops, gift shops, jewelry stores, sporting goods stores, vape supply stores, toy stores, pawn shops, book stores, and music and electronic stores.
This phase also includes travel agencies, and boats, ATV, and snowmobile dealers.
Personal services that may return to business include hairdressers and barbers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and acupressurists.
Businesses that re-open will be required to continue social distancing and sanitation protocols, and public and private gatherings will still be limited to 10 people.
Stores selling merchandise such as clothing stores will have to adopt protocols to limited customers from touching merchandise and trying on clothes will not be allowed.
Phase Three, Four, and Five:
The remaining phases have yet to be determined, said officials, and will be dependant on the outcome of the first two phases before those dates are announced.
Phase Three will re-open the remaining personal services, restaurant-type facilities, gym and fitness facilities, and childcare facilities. The limit on the size of public gatherings will increase to 15 people at this time.
Phase Four will be dependant on an evaluation of transmission patterns of COVID-19, and will include the re-opening of indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, and entertainment facilities. The limit on the size of public gatherings will increase to 30 people at this time.
Phase Five will be determined based on the previous four phases and will consider lifting the remaining long-term restrictions from the province.
Long-term restrictions in high-risk areas will remain in place for now, including the provincial state of emergency, and the public is urged to continue following protective practices throughout all five phases.
Those restrictions include recommendations against non-essential travel both between provinces and outside of Canada, mandatory two-week self-isolation following any international travel or positive COVID-19 results, and visitor restrictions at all SHA health care facilities.
The provincial government has yet to determine whether school divisions will be returning before the end of the school year in June, and more discussion is taking place about the return of elective surgeries, diagnostics, and non-essential services within the health authority.
More information on COVID-19 updates in Saskatchewan can be found at saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
Read the full details of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan here.