REGINA -- Certain public health measures will be loosened this weekend as Saskatchewan enters Step 2 of its reopening roadmap on Sunday.

Nearly three weeks ago, the province reached its targeted vaccine threshold to enter the next reopening phase – 70 per cent of people age 30 and older received their first dose.

In Step 2, there will be no capacity limits at retail stores and personal care services, but physical distancing must be maintained.

Restaurants and bars will no longer have a limit on the number of people permitted to sit at a table. All tables must still be two metres apart or have a divider between them.

Thomas Siarkos, the owner of Memories Dining & Bar, said his staff is excited for Sunday to hit.

“We feel like finally it’s back to where we should be,” he said. “It’s going to give (us) the opportunity to utilize most of our tables and have bigger parties, which we’ve missed dearly.”

He said customers have also been voicing their excitement for the table limit to lift.

“Right now, for next week and for July and August, we’ve got a lot of 20s and 30s. People are booking small weddings because it’s going to be very difficult to find the space,” he said. 

Capacity at event facilities, casinos, bingo halls, theatres, art galleries, libraries and recreational facilities will be capped at 150 people but physical distancing must be maintained.

The Mackenzie Art Gallery is keeping its capacity limits lower than the permitted amount for right now, but said it will likely expand later in the summer.

“We are looking at increasing our capacity from 30 to 50 as of June 23,” Allison Weed, the communications manager for the Mackenzie Art Gallery, said. “The decision was made after consulting with staff and just hearing about their comfort level around safety, so we are taking a bit more of a measured approach in increasing our capacities.”

Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw have been closed since December because of the public health orders. Both will open again on Sunday.

“This closure is about three months longer than our original closure back in March [2020],” Shanna Schulhauser, the director of communications with the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SGC), said. “We’re really excited to get things back open and to get our staff back in here and our guests back.”

The SGC experienced about 570 layoffs during the pandemic. Schulhauser said about 240 of those employees have been recalled, and once Step 3 hits, they will all be brought back.

When the casinos open on Sunday, she said there gaming and food options will be slightly limited.

“Things like, for example, our live-felt play on our table games, so things like poker and being able to sit down at a blackjack table or a roulette table - we’re unable to do that in this step, but for Step 3 that’s something we’re working towards,” she said. 

Long-term care and personal care home residents will be permitted to have four visitors indoors and nine outdoors.

At private indoor gatherings, up to 15 people will be permitted. At both public and private outdoor gatherings, there will be a 150 person limit.

All restrictions on youth and adult sports will be lifted.

Step 3 of the reopening roadmap will come three weeks after 70 per cent of people age 18 and older receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.