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Saskatchewan rolls out multi-phase reopening of economy

Monday, May 04, 2020 @ 12:13 PM | By Terry Davidson

Saskatchewan announced the launch of the first phase of a “methodical” plan to reopen its economy after shutting it down over COVID-19.  

According to the government’s press release, the first of five stages in Re-Open Saskatchewan will begin May 4, signalling the restarting of various medical services and the lifting of restrictions on certain green spaces and recreational activities.  

“Re-Open Saskatchewan is a plan built on a methodical and phased-in approach to slowly and responsibly lift restrictions on businesses and services,” states the plan. “Flattening the curve and strengthening the system will remain priorities, as will our ability to manage the current COVID-19 pressures by building capacity in the coming weeks and months. Key elements will include increased testing and contact tracing, as well as the preparation of additional space and critical equipment.”

Restrictions, it goes on to state, “will be lifted in stages, with consideration given to socioeconomic factors and the risk of transmission. The relaxing of restrictions “will be implemented via public health orders and the timing will be dictated by evidence of transmission.”

Phase one will see the reopening of a range of medical services, including dentistry, optometry, physical and occupational therapy, podiatry, chiropractors and licensed medical spas.

Service providers “will be required to continue to take precautionary measures as outlined by the Chief Medical Health Officer.”

Phase one will also see the reopening of provincial park boat launches and fishing (see the plan for area start dates for the latter). Golf courses can reopen May 15 and parks and campgrounds will reopen June 1 (see the plan for conditions).

Phase two, which will begin May 19, will see the reopening of various retail services, including clothing and shoe stores, flower shops, book and stationery stores and retailers dealing in sporting goods and music.    

Shopping malls will also reopen, but the restaurants in food courts will be “restricted to pick-up and delivery service only.” Seating areas will remain closed.

There will also be the reopening of some “select personal services,” such as barbers and hair stylists, registered massage therapists and acupuncturists.

A date for the start of Phase three is yet to be determined, but it will signal the reopening of other personal services such as tattoo parlours, manicurists, pedicurists, sun tanning facilities and body piercing shops. 

It will also see the reopening of bars and other “licensed facilities, childcare centres and restaurants, the latter being limited to 50 per cent capacity.

Dates for phases four and five have yet to be determined. See the plan for complete details.

As of May 3, Saskatchewan had 433 cases of COVID-19 and had experienced six deaths as a result of the virus.