On May 4, 2021, Saskatchewan introduced a three-step Re-Opening Roadmap with a view to gradually lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The Re-Opening Roadmap provides for lifting of certain restrictions in connection with benchmarks for vaccination.
The steps of the Re-Opening Roadmap are based on three factors: threshold targets for the vaccination of eligible adults, vaccine availability, and time between steps.
The Saskatchewan Government states that the Re-Opening Roadmap is designed to encourage people to get vaccinated and comply with existing public health orders. The Re-Opening Roadmap also functions as a re-opening plan in conjunction with the guidance in the existing Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.
Step one will be implemented three weeks after 70% of people age 40 and above have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and once vaccination is open to all adults (18+) across the province. The province is aiming for May 30, 2021 as the start date for Step One. As of May 10, 2021, over 50% of Saskatchewan adults have received a COVID-19 vaccine: 480,864 people have received a first dose and 46,393 people are fully vaccinated.
At Step One, some of the current COVID-19 restrictions in place will be eased:
- Restaurants and bars will be able to seat six people at a table.
- Places of worship will be allowed up to 30% capacity (150 people maximum).
- Group fitness classes may resume with three metre distancing.
- Private indoor gatherings will be increased to 10 people and public indoor gatherings to 30 people.
- Public outdoor gatherings will increase to 150 people.
The government does not intend to lift restrictions on retail businesses during Step One. These include the current 25% occupancy cap on large retail stores and 50% occupancy cap on personal service facilities and small retail stores. The masking order currently in effect for most indoor public spaces will also remain in place.
Step two is set for three weeks after 70% of people 30 or above have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as long as three weeks have passed since implementing Step One.
Further restrictions lifted in Step Two include:
- Capacity restrictions will be lifted for retail and personal care services, although two metre physical distancing will still be enforced.
- Table capacities at bars and restaurants will be lifted entirely.
- Event facilities will be able to seat up to 150, provided two metre physical distancing can be maintained.
- Private gatherings will increase to 15 people, indoors or outdoors.
Step three will be implemented when 70% of all adults (18+) have received at least one dose of the vaccine and at least three weeks have passed since implementing Step Two.
At Step Three, the government expects that most remaining restrictions will be lifted. However, physical distancing and masking will still be expected.
Businesses should continue to follow all applicable public health guidance and relevant guidelines in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan as we progress through the steps of the Re-Opening Roadmap. Significant announcements like the Re-Opening Roadmap also constitute a useful reminder to re-visit your existing COVID-19 plans and protocol documents to determine whether any updates or revisions are necessary.
MLT Aikins will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 restrictions in Saskatchewan. If you have questions regarding the impact of the Re-Opening Roadmap on your organization, please contact a member of our labour and employment team.