LUMSDEN, SASK. -- Several communities surrounding Regina are reacting to being included in the latest COVID-19 restrictions that target the rising number of variant cases in the Queen City.

The town of Lumsden is one of the communities included in the updated public health order. Lumsden Mayor Bryan Matheson said he understands why the bedroom community was included in the order.

“I know very well that many of our residents work in Regina. There’s people in Regina that work out here. We’re so close that travel back and forth is part of everyday life,” said Matheson.

Effective immediately, all private indoor gatherings in the affected communities are limited to immediate household members. People who live alone will be allowed to meet with one household of less than five people. Effective Sunday, all restaurants and bars must close for in-person dining; take-out and delivery is still allowed.

Matheson said something needed to be done to address the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area, but he hopes the change is short lived so the effect on businesses is minimal.

“I know that people in Lumsden are very supportive of our local community. I’m sure that there’s lot of them that are going to be ordering take-out and whatnot, but that’s a small part of what they do,” said Matheson.

Matheson encouraged all residents to do their part to keep the community safe.

“I know it’s frustrating, but we need to take care and follow the protocols, follow the rules, common sense and be careful,” he said.

The order also includes the following communities and RMs: Belle Plaine, Pense, Grand Coulee, Lumsden Beach, Regina Beach, Craven, Edenwold, Pilot Butte, White City, Balgonie, Kronau, Davin, Gray, Riceton, RM of Lajord, RM of Edenwold, RM of Sherwood, RM of Pense and the RM of Lumsden.

Mitch Huber, the reeve of the RM of Edenwold, said he is concerned about restraints and hotels in his jurisdiction.

“Whether you work at a business or whether you are a business owner, they get hit kind of the hardest, first of all,” Huber said.

Like Matheson, Huber said he hopes the restrictions aren’t in place for too long, and the COVID-19 case numbers start to drop soon.

“It’s a fine line between economic survival and public safety,” Huber said. “We were hoping we were through the worst and working towards the better, and this is just a big step backwards. But we will persevere.”

The new public health order will remain in effect until April 5, however Premier Scott Moe said it is “very likely” the measures will be extended.