The premier of Saskatchewan is defending his comments from earlier this week when he said people calling for tougher COVID-19 measures in the province have the option to work from home.
His comments were heard when speaking at the Municipalities of Saskatchewan’s virtual conference on Monday. Moe said on Wednesday afternoon that he stands by his words, but clarified that he was in no way disparaging people who go to work each day – whether that’s health care workers or other people on the front lines.
He said what he was pointing out is that residents who often push for broad shut downs of the economy or in the community have the opportunity to work from home.
“That is raising another concern in what has been a very divisive conversation of people calling for a shut down of the economy and communities versus another group of folks asking us to open things up,” explained the premier.
He mentioned that he wants residents to understand the balance the provincial government is trying to achieve in controlling the spread of the virus.
“We’re not going to just open things up. That would be entirely disrespectful to the folks that are going to work every day, are on the front lines and are treating patients that may or may not have COVID-19,” said Moe.
“I’m going to take my advice from Dr. Shahab. We have all heard him say there is not one area in society or workplace where we have a number of infections. It’s a sprinkling across the province and a sprinkling effect across various sectors.”
Continuing on people’s calls for more restrictions, Moe said the next step would likely involve shutting down businesses, schools and the youth athletics that remain, resulting in negative impacts to mental health and other areas. He added there is no evidence to shut down any of those sectors at this time.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili called Moe’s comments a slap in the face to doctors, nurses and front line health care workers.
“You might expect some humility from the premier of a province that has led the nation in COVID-19 case rates and death rates for most of 2021,” said Meili in a statement on Wednesday. “Instead, Moe’s continued insults and arrogance only divide Saskatchewan people at a time when we need to all pull together.”
Moe indicated he will soon be discussing health measures with Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab as Saskatchewan’s public health order is set to run out on Feb. 19