Saskatchewan families can plan for a Christmas by themselves as the government announced some more public health measures to deal with the ongoing spread of COVID-19 on Monday.
The biggest one sees the province limiting private indoor gatherings to immediate households only as of Thursday though single people can continue to meet with one other household of less than five people.
Provincial chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says what he is seeing shows transmission is now happening inside the household which may be a direct result of people letting their guard down once being at home.
“Even though we are not seeing the outbreaks that were happening in October and early November, we are still seeing significant transmission in the household settings, and in the in-between places,” Shahab said. “It is that close social contact indoors that’s generating a lot of the transmission we’ve seen over the last three or four weeks.”
Some of the other restrictions include casinos and bingo halls closing and personal service businesses like hairdressers operating at 50 per cent capacity as of December 19 with large retail locations that have a square footage of more than 20,000 square feet be limited to 25 percent capacity as of Christmas Day. Other retail services must reduce capacity to 50 per cent.
NDP leader Ryan Meili says this approach is chaotic and that this wait-and-see approach has led to lockdown measures that are more severe and less effective. He says Saskatchewan families deserve better than the chaos the government has imposed on them.
When asked if he had perhaps dropped the ball on this one by not performing a circuit-breaker as had been requested by some, Moe said absolutely not.
“I think by and large, Saskatchewan has managed to get its way through this COVID pandemic in a very responsible fashion.” Moe said.
The news comes on a day where the seven-day daily average sits at 262 cases.
The measures announced on Monday are in effect until at least January 15.