REGINA -- The Saskatchewan government announced Thursday that it will ease visitor restrictions at care homes in the province in one week.

Starting April 29, the province said long-term and personal care home residents will be able to have family members or support people visit, two at a time, if the resident is fully vaccinated, at least 90 per cent of residents have been fully vaccinated and three weeks have passed since the last second dose.

According to the government, up to four people will be allowed to visit residents outside. Public health guidelines, including masking, physical distancing, temperature checks and hand washing, still have to be followed.

Minister of Seniors Everett Hindley said about 43 facilities in the province currently meet the requirement. According to the Ministry of Health, there are nearly 160 long-term care homes and around 250 personal care homes in the province. He said every care home has been offered the second does, it is now just a matter of waiting out the three week time period.

If there is an increase in COVID-19 cases in a particular area, Hindley said officials will determine whether or not restrictions will be lifted.

“We know we need to continue to make sure that we’re protecting all of our residents, including those that are most vulnerable,” said Hindley. “But we’ve also been hearing that the restrictions that we put in place…they’ve not been easy. They’ve been exceptionally difficult for the residents [and] for their families.”

Hindley added that the list of facilities will be available through the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medial health officer, said officials have been looking for ways to safely allow visitation.

He added that people should get tested often if they plan to visit their loved ones regularly. Dr. Shahab said those who have not been vaccinated should consider getting testing weekly if they are visiting care homes.