Saskatchewan Implements Mandatory Mask Order and Reduces Private Gathering Sizes

On November 5, 2020, the Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan published two public health orders imposing mandatory mask requirements in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Alberta, and further reducing private gathering sizes. Both public health orders came into effect November 6, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

Gathering Sizes

The November 5, 2020, public health order reduces the limits on private gatherings to no more than 10 people. This order follows the previous reduction on private gatherings from 30 people to 15 people on October 15, 2020. The 10 person limit applies to any gathering held in a private dwelling, except in cases where more than 10 people ordinarily reside in the private dwelling. This order does not affect indoor public gatherings and outdoor private and public gatherings, which remain capped at 30 people.

Mandatory Masks

The November 5, 2020 masking order applies to individuals and businesses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. Pursuant to the order, masks are required to be worn in most indoor public places in these cities, including:

  • Retail businesses, such as grocery stores, clothing stores and sporting goods stores;
  • Service businesses, such as mechanics, insurance agencies, dry cleaners and professional services;
  • Shopping centres;
  • Public transport;
  • Personal service businesses such salons and spas, except when the nature of the service requires removing a mask;
  • Restaurants and bars, except when eating or drinking;
  • Movie theatres, arcades, concert halls and other performance locations;
  • Places of worship and faith gatherings;
  • Indoor sport and recreational facilities, except while actively participating in physical exertion;
  • Public areas of universities and colleges;
  • Common areas, such as elevators, lobbies or hallways of multi-unit residential buildings; and
  • Conference and reception venues.

Certain individuals are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask, including:

  • Anyone under the age of 2;
  • Anyone who is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance; and
  • Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.

The order specifies that individuals are not required to wear a mask while in an indoor place to which the public does not normally have access and the individual is alone. The order contains further exemptions from the mask requirement in certain circumstances, including when removing the mask is required for security or identification purposes, or for the purpose of receiving certain services.

The Government of Saskatchewan has published additional guidance on masking requirements.

MLT Aikins LLP is continuing to monitor for further amendments and updates to public health orders. Employers are invited to contact our labour and employment team with any questions regarding the scope of their obligations and personal protective equipment obligations under the public health orders.

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.