Sask.'s economy will start to re-open on Monday. Here's what that will look like
REGINA -- Saskatchewan will begin the five-phase plan to re-open its economy on Monday.
Starting May 4, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists, podiatrists, occupational therapists and chiropractors will be able to open their doors for services. They will need to follow strict guidelines, including screening clients and providers, gloves and face masks.
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The province announced some changes to the plan on Friday afternoon, including different guidelines for retail stores and golf courses.
Gatherings will still be capped at a maximum of 10 people under the first phase of the re-opening plan.
Guidelines for service providers opening under phase one
In its plan to re-open Saskatchewan, the province says health-care providers will still need to limit bookings. Appointments will need to be scheduled so that there are no more than 10 people in an area at a time to continue to follow public health guidelines.
The province suggests clients wait in their vehicles instead of waiting rooms and providers are encouraged to call or text people when their appointment begins. If people are waiting in the building, they should maintain at least two metres of physical distancing between themselves and other clients.
Service providers are also encouraged to establish a “directional flow” through the facility and remove non-essential items like toys and remote controls from waiting rooms.
All clients should be screened for visible COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone exhibiting symptoms will need to wear surgical mask, or cancel their appointment.
Common areas and procedure rooms will need to be disinfected between each client. Businesses are also encouraged to explain the procedures in place and public health orders to their clients ahead of their appointment.
The Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists says its workers are prepared to be safe during re-opening.
“We do have a better understanding of how to look after ourselves and our patients and our staff,” President Dr. Nathan Knezacek said.
Dentists will prioritize patients who have needed care for weeks.
“It’s one thing to put up with dental pain for a few weeks,” said Dr. Todd Graham, President of the College of Dental Surgeons. “As it continues to persist and get worse, it’s no longer urgent, things will become emergent. So that’s what we will be seeing for the next few weeks is trying to look after all these cases of broken teeth and emergencies that have been put off with antibiotics.”
Cleaning and disinfecting
COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for several days, which is why the province says businesses need to clean and disinfect regularly. Common areas, along with frequently used surfaces like door handles, light switches, taps and hand rails, should be cleaned at least twice a day, the province says.
Employees shouldn’t share phones, desks, offices or other tools when possible.
Clothing and other fabrics should be washed and dried at the highest temperature setting and dried completely before use.
Any hand sanitizer needs to be approved by Health Canada.
Re-opening delayed in La Loche, Lloydminster
The province announced Wednesday that re-opening would be delayed in La Loche and Lloydminster due to COVID-19 outbreaks in those areas.
Lloydminster Hospital is dealing with an outbreak of more than a dozen cases, including patients and health-care workers. Anyone who has tested positive has moved to a separate unit at the hospital.
The far north region has the most active COVID-19 cases in the province.
Premier Scott Moe has not announced when these communities will be able to start the re-opening process.
Boat launches open Monday
Fishing and boat launches at Saskatchewan’s provincial parks will open for use on Monday.
Boat passengers need to be from the same household, the province says. Anyone on the shoreline will need to maintain at least two metres of physical distancing.
Fishing season begins on May 5 for the southern region, May 15 for the central region and May 25 for the north region.
People aren’t allowed to fish off public docks, dams, jetties or marinas.
There will be limited bathroom access for day-use only and shower facilities are closed.
The province says fishing shacks are also not permitted.
Outdoor recreation facilities will need to practice increased cleaning measures and maintain proper physical distancing.
Group activities aren’t allowed, the province says, and gatherings are capped at 10 people.
Groups can’t hold competitions or fundraisers. People who are sick shouldn’t participate in any outdoor activities.
Indoor recreational activities will remain suspended until phase four of the province’s plan.
Community gardens can operate in phase one, but will need to maintain physical distancing guidelines. Commonly used surfaces will also need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Other services opening later in phase one
Saskatchewan’s golf courses will open to the public on May 15. They will also need to follow strict cleaning guidelines and golfers will need to maintain strict physical distancing. The province also says tee times will need to be 20 minutes apart to avoid congestion and golfers are encouraged to walk instead of taking golf carts. Only one person can use a golf cart at a time, unless they are with other members of their household.
On Friday afternoon, the province said golf club rentals would be allowed, but must be disinfected after each use.
Camping reservations will also be available starting May 4 for camping dates in June.
People with seasonal long-term sites can stay overnight before June 1 as long as they have self-supporting sewer and water at private campgrounds and regional parks.
Anyone making a reservation needs to be a Saskatchewan resident.
Second phase to begin May 19
The second phase of re-opening the economy is scheduled to begin on May 19.
That phase includes the gradual re-opening of retail stores and personal services like hair dressers, massage therapists and acupuncturists.
All businesses will need to follow strict guidelines under the second phase.
The dates of the three remaining phases are yet to be determined.
Read the full Re-open Saskatchewan plan here: