REGINA -- Provincial health officials in Saskatchewan are encouraging residents to have a rolled back Thanksgiving this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All non-essential and recreational travel to or from Saskatchewan is being discouraged to prevent the spread of the virus, a measure not exclusive to the Thanksgiving weekend.

Of Saskatchewan's 2,012 total cases to date, 304 are confirmed to be connected to travel.

The province had 143 active cases on Thursday, the lowest of any Western Canadian province.

Other general rules to keep in mind surround size limits on gatherings, physical distancing and staying home if experiencing symptoms, all especially important during a gathering-centric holiday like Thanksgiving.

“If someone is not feeling well, either as a host or a guest, there should be no hesitation in cancelling the event or not attending an event,” Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said Thursday. “In this time, we absolutely don’t want someone who is unwell to be the host or a guest where you can then quick transmission in those close, intimate settings.”

Some Thanksgiving-specific recommendations include:

  • Not holding shared meals between people not in the same household or extended household
  • Not having potlucks, shared platters, or buffet service
  • Designating one person to plate food
  • Having one person handle food and drink preparation
  • Giving vulnerable individuals like seniors or those with underlying health conditions their food first
  • Guests and hosts washing their hands with soap and water before eating and after handling food or packaging.

Additionally all indoor or outdoor gatherings are capped at 30 people, but only if there is room for physical distancing between those not in the same household or extended household. If there isn’t enough space, fewer guests should be invited.