'We're not doing that in Saskatchewan': Premier bucks federal reopening roadmap, says Sask. sticking with its own plan
REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan remains confident in its reopening roadmap despite it contrasting the roadmap released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on Friday.
"We just learned what a Trudeau summer looks like, looks like you’re still locked down in many instances. We’re not doing that in Saskatchewan," Premier Scott Moe said on Friday.
The federal government is recommending provinces begin loosening restrictions over the summer only when 75 per cent of eligible residents have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 20 per cent are fully vaccinated with a second dose.
It also recommends over 75 per cent of residents be fully vaccinated before fully reopening.
Saskatchewan has scheduled Step One of its reopening roadmap for May 30 after hitting the threshold of 70 per cent of residents age 40 and older with one dose.
In Step One, Saskatchewan is loosening restrictions on restaurants and bars, and allowing more people to gather indoors and outdoors, both privately and publicly.
Step Two is activated when 70 per cent of residents 30 and over have their first dose. It removes capacity limited on restaurants and bars, increases the gathering limits and lifts restrictions youth and adult sports and recreation.
Saskatchewan would remove most of its remaining restrictions in Step Three, which goes into effect when 70 per cent of adults are vaccinated with one dose.
As of Friday, Saskatchewan has 54 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and five per cent have been fully vaccinated.
"By the time we get to phase three reopening here in the province, we most certainly, I believe, will have far in excess of 70 per cent. We’ll have 70 per cent because we’ll hit that benchmark and we’ll have three weeks to increase it beyond 70 per cent and we’ll be well into our second doses as well," Moe said.
Moe added the decisions on how each province reopens is up to the provincial government. He hopes the federal government will start easing restrictions on international travel if areas reach the PHAC benchmarks.
NDP leader Ryan Meili said other metrics such as case and hospitalizations rates need to be part of the equation as well.
"I want to make sure that the choices that are being made here are wise choices based on what we’re dealing with," he said.
The guidelines from PHAC also point to the fall for provinces to begin allowing people to gather with people outside of their household, but Moe is being more ambitious and would like to see fans at Mosaic Stadium as early as August.
"We’re looking at a plan as to how we can start with some fans in stadium and as we go along through our reopening plan to turn up the number of fans that would be able to go and cheer on our Saskatchewan Roughriders," he said.
"We’ll achieve that in the very same way that we are achieving our reopening plan here in Saskatchewan and that is very similar to turning up the lights with a dimmer switch."
On Thursday, the Center for Disease Control in the United States stated that anyone fully vaccinated can begin to stop wearing masks indoors. Moe said that’s the goal for Saskatchewan as well.
"We’re going to be there in the not too distant future, that’s the goal, that’s the target and that is why we came forward with the reopening roadmap that we did," he said.
Saskatchewan will be opening up second doses for residents starting on Monday.