The Government of Saskatchewan declared a state of emergency as a result of COVID-19.
The declaration follows the announcement that COVID-19 cases have doubled in the province, for a total of 16.
The declaration comes with a new set of precautions including the banning of any gathering of over 50 people, forcing restaurants to limit their capacity to half or to a maximum of 50 people whichever is less, the closure of all gyms, fitness centres, casinos, and bingo halls, and the restriction of inter-provincial travel.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations are exempt from the ban, but they must make sure that customers are able to maintain a 1-2 meter separation while in their store.
Premier Scott Moe says the declaration allows the province to access resources that may not otherwise be accessible.
“The declaration of a provincial state of emergency provides our government powers that include the ability to limit travel to and from a community, or a region of the province, and directing that a property or equipment can be deployed to address the COVID-19 pandemic that we are facing,” said Moe.
More of the measures taken include crown corporations implementing bill-deferral programs to help people who may not be able to pay their bills due to being in self-isolation, allowing licensed restaurants and taverns in Saskatchewan to sell alcohol as an offsale according to SLGA regulations indefinitely, and Government of Saskatchewan ministries, agencies and Crown corporations will implement a phased-in work from home policy effective Monday, March 23, applicable to employees deemed non-essential. This means that any employees able to work from home should do so immediately, while providing managers a period to plan for work-force continuity.
Moe stressed the need for residents to follow the guidelines in place and to practice proper hygiene, saying it’s the only way the province will get through this pandemic.
“We will get through this, and we will get through this together,” said Moe. “We all have a responsibility, and we have to take that personal responsibility seriously. I know this is completely counter-intuitive, especially here in our province. In times of crisis we are a community and we pull together as one, we’ve shown that so many times.”
“But today, pulling together means we need to stay apart.”
The Premier added that parents with daycare-aged children should pay close attention, as more restrictions may be coming down the pipe.
Saskatchewan residents can go to www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19 for the latest information reorganized to make it easy for residents to find what they need. It includes information on travel guidance and preventative measures as well as information for care providers.