Libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres, live theatres can reopen in Sask. on Monday
COVID-19 in Sask:11 new cases reported Tuesday, 10 in the far north and one in Saskatoon
Libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres and live theatres in Saskatchewan will be able to reopen next Monday under the second part of Phase 4 of the province's reopening plan.
Movie theatres and live theatres will be allowed a maximum of 30 per cent of normal capacity, up to a maximum of 150 people per room, as long as physical distancing can be maintained, the province announced in new guidelines released Tuesday, which also included new guidelines on campgrounds, sports and the use of masks in some industries.
Libraries, museums and galleries are required to "maintain an occupancy level that allows staff and customers to maintain a physical distance, except for brief exchanges," the province says.
While these types of faculties can reopen on Monday, some will need more time before they do.
"We will not be able to open on Monday," said Regina Public Library director and CEO Jeff Barber. "The notice period that we have isn't really long enough."
Barber said it will likely be July before branches can open, as staff have to make sure all of the protocols are put in place.
Those protocols include having library materials quarantined for 72 hours before they can be handled, reworking floor plans to allow for limited programming while maintaining physical distancing, new cleaning requirements, and monitoring how many people can be in the building at any one time.
One major concern will be library patrons browsing through the materials.
"Typically at RPL over 80 per cent of our circulation materials is actually from browsing," Barber said.
"It sounds a little innocuous but actually, yes, it is a significant challenge for us to set that up in a safe way, according to the protocols for how people move and work in a library."
The Saskatoon Public Library put out a statement saying it has a gradual reopening plan and will be sharing those details in the coming days.
The province also said that as of Friday, parks and campgrounds will be able to open to 100 per cent capacity for overnight stays and limited-term campsites. Washroom and shower facilities can be accessed, but increased cleaning and disinfection must take place.
Martin Gilmore, park manager at the Ceylon Regional Park Campground, welcomed the news.
"It's huge. It now doubles our revenue," Gilmore said.
While the 34-site park is made up mostly of seasonal campers, Gilmore said it's been quiet because of the empty campsites and he's looking forward to having it full next week.
"It's going to be nice to see people around the park again," he said.
"The phone's already ringing. We're already redoing our sites to accommodate people that want to stay longer … that had cancelled before or couldn't get a spot."
If physical distancing can be maintained, sports games and other activities can also now restart, the province said Tuesday.
For sports that can't maintain physical distancing, such as full-contact sports, mini-leagues should be formed to allow teams to safely return to playing games, while helping mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, the province said.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said teams should play within that small bubble at the local level, and travelling isn't recommended for teams.
Premier Scott Moe said there have been preliminary discussions about how to reopen sports leagues like the Canadian Junior Football League or Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League that are fan-driven and need to travel, but no decisions have been made.
Safe parameters must be in place for the players and fans before they can restart, Moe said.
"This is a marathon. We do need to look out over the next number of months, not the next number of weeks, in continuing to be safe."
The province also said Tuesday that restaurant staff, workers at fitness facilities and workers at personal care services that cannot maintain two metres of distance must wear a non-medical mask.
"Using a reusable mask gives that extra layer of protection as well," said Dr. Shahab, adding you shouldn't get within two metres if you don't have to.
Locker rooms, shower facilities and change rooms are now permitted to open in places like gyms and fitness facilities, beaches, campgrounds, golf courses and facilities where outdoor sports and activities are played.
Change rooms in clothing and retail stores can now move to 100 per cent occupancy.
The reopening of other activities such as indoor pools, indoor rinks, indoor sports and activities, casinos and bingo halls will be announced in the next two weeks.
11 new cases on Tuesday
Eleven new cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan were reported on Tuesday.
Ten of the new cases are in the far north region and one is in the Saskatoon region.
The total number of cases was revised based on surveillance guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada regarding COVID-19 cases among the provinces and territories.
Nine cases that have been attributed to Saskatchewan are no longer included because the person's residence is outside the province, including two cases noted on June 21 and 22.
The province said the provincial total is now 753 cases, with 98 active and 642 recoveries.
One person is in intensive care in the south, while two others in the southern region and one in Saskatoon are receiving in-patient care.
Dr. Shahab said most of the recent cases have been linked to an outbreak in the far north and one in the south.
He said health officials have not seen any cases linked to the recent anti-racism protests.
Saskatchewan is also working with neighbouring provinces for a "more permissive approach" to cross-border trips, he said, but urged people to check on whether camping or hotels are open to out-of-province guests before embarking on a trip.
So far, 13 people in the province have died from COVID-19-related illnesses.
To date, 61,226 COVID‐19 tests have been performed in Saskatchewan.