Prime Minister Scott Moe says the decision by the unvaccinated population is driving the fourth wave of COVID-19, and Saskatchewan will not wait any longer as it moves forward.
Ahead of the COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, he announced via Facebook that new measures are coming to the province to combat the fourth wave.
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Starting Friday, September 17, a public health order will bring mandatory masking back to all indoor public spaces in Saskatchewan. Government officials said the order is aimed at being lifted by the end of October, after which full proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test requirement will be fully implemented.
According to the government, indoor youth athletics will be exempt from the disguise ordinance for persons under 18 years of age while actively engaged in athletic activity.
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Moe also said all employees of Saskatchewan government ministries, crowns and agencies will be required to be vaccinated, with proof of full vaccination required by October 1st. to provide evidence of vaccination.
A provincial requirement for proof of vaccination or negative COVID test will also be implemented on October 1 for public access to several companies, firms and event venues, including:
- indoor dining at restaurants;
- nightclubs, bars, taverns and other authorized establishments;
- event and entertainment venues, including conference centers, casinos, cinemas, concert venues, live music venues, museums and indoor facilities that host ticketed sporting events; and
- indoor gyms and gyms.
The government said proof of vaccination is not required for the following:
- retail businesses, including grocery stores;
- places of worship;
- fast food restaurants offering pick-up and delivery;
- health services, professional services or personal services;
- hotels or other accommodation;
- facilities hosting non-ticketed amateur sporting events, including youth athletics and recreational leagues;
- business meetings and places of business closed to the public, unless otherwise specified by the company or employer; and
- private gatherings held at an indoor public residence.
Children under the age of 12 are exempt from proof of vaccination or negative test requirements, according to officials.
Moe said Saskatchewan’s verifiable vaccination record will be launched in the week of September 20, and protocols for evidence of negative test requirements are currently under development.
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Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili said Moe announced “some long-awaited action.”
“The official opposition demanded this kind of leadership weeks ago,” Meili’s statement read.
“We are all united by our desire for the pandemic to be over. But Scott Moe has pretended it’s been over since July. He took the summer off, but COVID-19 did not. Scott Moe ignored his own government modeling and advice. He ignored the increasingly desperate voices of ordinary people, teachers, doctors and nurses, the pandemic chiefs, doctors from all over the province.
“Copying Jason Kenney’s ‘too small, too late’ plan is not leadership. And a premier who always acts last – if at all – is not a leader. The people of Saskatchewan deserve so much better than Scott Moe’s arrogance and passivity … The Prime Minister must apologize, show remorse and take real action. If not, it’s time for him to step down. ”
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Earlier today, the Prime Minister said that the government has been patient in providing the opportunity and access to be vaccinated, but that the patience is now over.
“Unlike previous waves, this wave of the pandemic is driven almost exclusively by a group of about 20 to 30 percent of our population, those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated. New cases are overwhelming in unvaccinated people, ”Moe said.
“The time for patience is now over, the choice not to be vaccinated not only affects you, it now seriously affects those who did the right thing. And it is now seriously affecting those who cannot be vaccinated, our children, and it is prolonging the pandemic for all.
“The choice not to be vaccinated creates consequences for others. And I will say very soon that it will have consequences for those who have made the decision to remain unvaccinated. ”
On Thursday, Saskatchewan’s dashboard showed 218 COVID-19 hospital patients, 4,064 active cases and the total death toll rose by one to 630.
The province’s average of seven days of new daily infections grew to a new record high of 438 from 416 on Wednesday.
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