Saskatchewan Announces Additional COVID-19 Restrictions

On November 13, 2020, the Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan and the Minister of Health announced the implementation of further restrictions within Saskatchewan in attempt to curb rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, which have spiked over the last couple of weeks.

The following restrictions came into effect on Monday, November 16, 2020 as a result of two new public health orders:

  • Restaurants, bars, and licensed establishments must stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.;
  • Hookah and water pipe services are no longer permitted; and
  • All intense aerobic group fitness activities (e.g. aerobics, Zumba and spin classes) must maintain at least three metres of space between people. If this cannot be followed, classes must be suspended. Further information on gyms and fitness classes can be found in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

On November 17, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Saskatchewan and Premier of Saskatchewan announced additional restrictions.

The following restrictions came into effect on Thursday, November 19, 2020:

  • Indoor gatherings in private homes are limited to no more than five people, down from the 10-person limit in the previous order. Families of five or more are not permitted to have additional visitors. The province is strongly discouraging any gatherings beyond one’s immediate household;
  • All visitation to long-term care facilities and personal care facilities is restricted to those visiting for compassionate reasons; and
  • Liquor-licensed entertainment transportation such as group limousines and party buses are no longer permitted to operate.

The five-person gathering limit outlined above does not apply to businesses that are still permitted to operate, although businesses are required to follow the relevant guidelines and requirements in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

Workplaces are also exempt from the 30-person restriction on indoor and outdoor gatherings where two-metre physical distancing can be maintained. If physical distancing cannot be maintained in the workplace, employers should implement safety measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission, such as self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, or supervision by Infection Prevention and Control or Occupational Health and Safety officers.

The mandatory mask order that came into effect on November 6, 2020 has been expanded to include indoor public spaces in all of Saskatchewan as of November 19, 2020.

Employers should be aware of some important exemptions permitted by the masking order. Masks are not required for:

  • People who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, as determined by a health professional; and
  • People who are alone in an enclosed area to which the public does not normally have access.

The province has also suggested that, where there is uncertainty as to whether a location qualifies as an “indoor public space,” individuals should “defer to wearing the mask – choose the option that promotes public safety.”

Further information on the mask mandate can be found in our  Saskatchewan Implements Mandatory Mask Order and Reduces Private Gathering Sizes blog.

These restrictions will remain in effect until December 17, 2020, at which time they will be reviewed by the Chief Medical Health Officer.

MLT Aikins will continue to monitor for further updates to public health orders. Employers with any questions regarding accommodation or concerns regarding compliance with the mask order are encouraged to contact our labour and employment law team.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.