The Saskatchewan government is implementing stricter COVID-19 measures.
Shortly after announcing 240 new cases in the province, the government on Tuesday made masks mandatory in all indoor public places across the province, capped indoor private gatherings at five people, and suspended visitation at long-term care and personal care homes other than for compassionate reasons.
The government also said party buses and similar modes of entertainment transportation were no longer permitted.
The new measures are to take effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m., and will be in place until Dec. 17. At that point, they’ll be reviewed by the chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.
Masks initially were mandatory only in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, but the provincial government expanded the list Friday to cover all centres with more than 5,000 residents and other communities that were close to the three largest cities.
Indoor private gatherings previously had been limited to 10 people. That includes get-togethers in homes or other buildings on private property such as garages or sheds.
Any private gatherings of five people or more must be held in a public venue like a restaurant or community hall.
According to the government, if a family comprises five or more people, visitors aren’t allowed.
“Gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged at this time,” the government said in a media release.
Support personnel like nurses or therapists and tradespeople are permitted, provided they maintain physical distance and wear masks.
The limit on outdoor private gatherings is 30 people.
Visitation to long-tern and personal care homes will be restricted to compassionate reasons. More details are available here.
The government recommended people work from home – or continue to do so – if it’s feasible.
In the release, the province said the Ministry of Health will be consulting with restaurants, bars, casinos and other businesses to discuss guidelines and their enforcement.
As well, the ministry will be talking with athletic organizations, gyms and faith leaders to ensure that guidelines that currently are in place “can be enhanced to ensure that the necessary measures are being taken to reduce COVID-19 transmission.”