REGINA -- The province of Saskatchewan has declared a state of emergency after announcing eight new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

The State of Emergency gives the government “broad powers” to address the pandemic, such as limiting travel from an area or community.

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The government has also issued a number of new orders:

  • Gatherings over 50 prohibited.
  • Restaurants, bars and event venues must limit seating to 50 per cent capacity, or a maximum of 50, whichever is lesser. Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempted.
  • Social distance of 2 metres between staff and customers.
  • All gyms, fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls will close until further notice.
  • Residents advised to limit non-essential travel outside Sask.
  • Licensed restaurants and taverns in Saskatchewan will be allowed to sell alcohol as an offsale indefinitely.
  • All crown utilities will defer bills with zero interest for six months for those impacted by COVID-19.
  • All government ministries, agencies and Crown corporations will phase in a work from home policy beginning March 23.

“ This action will allow the SHA the ability to redeploy nurses and other staff and ensure medical supplies and personal protective equipment are available when needed and reduce risk of further exposure to our care providers and patients,” The province said in a news release.

Parents with children in daycares should prepare for more restrictions.

The Premier said this is a critical time, and pleaded with all citizens of Saskatchewan to do their part.

“Pulling together means we need to stay apart,” Scott Moe said.

He said he has heard of members of the public coming home from travel and going out in the community the very next day. Moe said “this cannot be happening.”

He asked that Saskatchewan residents need to do their part to help those most vulnerable, and reminded that these measures will not work unless everyone does their part.

“These measures will not completely prevent the spread but it will flatten the curve,” Moe said. “We have a personal responsibility to this province and this nation”

People who may have been in contact with an infected person have been contacted and informed to self-isolate.

“It’s important that we break the chain of transmission,” Dr. Shahab said.

Saskatchewan has eight new, presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to 16.

All but one of the infected people are currently well enough to self-isolate at their homes. The person in hospital is being treated for medical reasons not related to COVID-19.

To date, 1,978 tests have been performed in the province.

“This is a critical time for all individuals and organizations to ensure that they are practicing social distancing, staying home whenever possible and absolutely staying home when you are ill, even with mild symptoms,” Saskatchewan Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “We will also see more cases linked to travel within Canada. Limit all non-essential travel at this time as part of the provincial and national effort to prevent transmission.”

  • A person in their 30s was tested in Regina.
  • A person in their 40s was tested after close contact with a previously announced presumptive positive case in Saskatchewan.
  • A person in their 20s was tested in Saskatoon after travel from Tennessee.
  • A person in their 20s was tested in Saskatoon after travel to Oregon, Nevada and Edmonton.
  • A person was tested in Moose Jaw after travel from Vancouver.
  • A person was tested in Regina after their travel from Cancun, Mexico.
  • A person was tested in Regina after their travel from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
  • A person in their 40s was tested in Saskatoon after their travel from Vancouver.

The province has identified two flights to Regina that the impacted people were on. It’s asked that anyone on these flights self-isolate.

  • Sunwing WG540, Cancun to Regina, March 14
  • Sunwing WG496, Cabo San Lucas to Regina, March 14

CTV News Regina's Marc Smith is live at the announcement: