Saskatchewan Government Issues Phase 4.3 Guidelines for Partial Phase Four Reopening

Authors: John Agioritis, Tom Richards, Emily Barlas

On July 9, 2020 the Saskatchewan government released an updated version of Re-Open Saskatchewan (the “Plan”), the five-phase plan to slowly and responsibly lift restrictions on business and services.

A general overview of the Plan can be found in our blog here.

The guidelines and release dates of phase four facilities are being updated by the provincial government on a continuous basis. With the most recent update, the following facilities and activities are able to commence as of July 16, 2020:

  • Racetracks and rodeo-related activities;
  • Live performances in restaurants, licensed establishments and farmers’ markets;
  • Banquet and conference facilities; and
  • Car shows and trade shows.

The provincial government notes that the guidelines have been developed at a time with reasonably low and manageable virus transmission. However, should transmission rates increase and outbreaks become more widespread, more rigorous mitigation measures may be necessary, including the possibility of restricting or cancelling gatherings and events.

All businesses and activities that are set to reopen on their respective dates are required to adhere to guidelines that are generally applicable to all businesses. An overview of those guidelines can be found in our blog here. We note that the most recent provincial health order expressly requires that events, activities, and outdoor spaces are required to adhere to relevant guidelines in the Plan.

As of the date of publication, indoor private and public gatherings of over 30 people are prohibited, and outdoor private and public gatherings over 30 people are prohibited except in the following circumstances where two-metre distancing between people can be maintained:

  • Settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings, and workplaces; and
  • Are a critical public service or an allowable business service.

In addition to following general guidelines, businesses and activities that are set to reopen as part of phase four are required to follow specific guidelines as outlined below.

Further, we also note that there is an added civil law risk that arises from a business inviting members of the public onto its property when that business has not followed required guidelines under the Plan. These issues should be carefully considered by business owners when considering their reopening plans. In this regard, please see our previous blog on Occupiers’ Liability During COVID-19.

Racetracks and Rodeo-Related Activities

The Plan provides guidelines for the general operation of racetracks and rodeo-related activities. Additionally, the Plan provides specific guidelines for these facilities and activities regarding:

  • Event capacity requirements;
  • Hand hygiene;
  • Physical distancing;
  • Cleaning and disinfection; and
  • Food and beverage service.

Live Performances in Restaurants, Licensed Establishments and Farmers Markets

Additional information will continue to be added to the Plan based on direction from public health officials and input from businesses and service providers. However, the update notes that physical distancing will be required with greater distances required depending on the activity and instruments involved.

Banquet and Conference Facilities

The Plan provides guidelines for the general operation of banquet and conference facilities. Additionally, the Plan provides specific guidelines for these facilities regarding:

  • Physical distancing;
  • Cleaning and disinfection;
  • Hand hygiene;
  • Food services; and
  • Employees.

Car Shows and Trade Shows

The Plan provides guidelines for the general operation of car shows and trade shows. Additionally, the Plan provides specific guidelines for these facilities and activities regarding:

  • Event capacity requirements;
  • Physical distancing;
  • Hand hygiene;
  • Cleaning and disinfection; and
  • Food and beverage service.

Other Updates Effective July 9, 2020:

  • Seating areas are now permitted at drive-in theatres as well as public and farmers markets. Physical distancing is required between tables and only members of the same group should be seating together.
  • Guidelines for safe summer camping at provincial parks were also updated.

Conclusion

As outlined above, the Plan contains detailed requirements for businesses that are set to open under phase four on July 16, 2020.

The MLT Aikins occupational health and safety and labour and employment team will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates on legal issues that may impact employers. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team if you require assistance in ensuring your organization is prepared to reopen, and particularly if you are unsure as to how your business can satisfy its workplace safety and legal obligations under the Plan.