Saskatchewan

Phase 3 of Sask. reopening plan to begin June 8 and include bars, restaurants, outdoor gatherings of 30

Saskatchewan's bars, restaurants and many other businesses will be allowed to reopen June 8 when Phase 3 of the government's reopening plan starts. However, eateries and licensed establishments will have to operate at 50 per cent capacity to comply with physical distancing rules in the COVID-19 era.

Bars and restaurants will be allowed to operate at half capacity

Dan Celis, centre, says he will not re-open unless regulations are met and his staff, pictured at New Year's Eve, are comfortable with operation. (Submitted by Dan Celis)

Saskatchewan's bars, restaurants and many other businesses will be allowed to reopen June 8 when Phase 3 of the government's reopening plan starts, the government announced Thursday.

However, eateries and licensed establishments will have to operate at 50 per cent capacity — or lower — to comply with physical distancing rules in the COVID-19 era. 

"We got extra balls in the air because our lease is up for renewal right now," said Dan Celis, owner and operator of Tommy's Speakeatery in Regina's Lakeview neighbourhood.

"What do you do — do you move, stay put? Do you shrink? Is it worth operating?"

The only way the business is going to open and operate is if regulations are met and Tommy's staff feel safe and comfortable, Celis said. He said it feels like there are more questions than answers.

"I don't know if I know anything more than before or anything more than I did this morning," Celis said. 

"Except that now I know I need to get on tracking down more masks, and trying to find face shields, and find barriers, and find the money to pay for it of course."

Tattoo parlours will also be allowed to open on June 8. (CBC)

Gyms and fitness facilities will also be able to open for business. Childcare facilities and places of worship will also be allowed to open their doors. 

The additional list of personal service businesses that will be allowed to open include:

  • Estheticians.
  • Tattoo artists.
  • Make-up applicators.
  • Electrologists.
  • Manicurists.
  • Pedicurists.
  • Sun tanning parlours.

The number of people allowed to gather will also be increased as part of Phase 3. Indoor gatherings of up to 15 will be permitted, along with outdoor gatherings of up to 30.

Phase 2 of the reopen plan began Tuesday, allowing many retail stores to reopen. Some recreational activities are also open already, such as golf and drive-in movie theatres.

Premier Scott Moe ruled out certain regions of the province advancing in the province's re-open plan on Thursday, even if case numbers are low and there are no active cases.

The next phase of the re-open plan may be pushed back due to COVID-19 flaring back up, however. 

Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer, said the province has to be meticulous in its planning phases.

"I think we need to proceed cautiously to make sure that the reopening is a success," Shahab said. "We need to reopen, see for at least two to four weeks that there aren't any concerns."

Shahab added additional space may be required for activities and gatherings that include singing or crying for example, as those activities increase transmission risks.

In addition, many restaurants have been doing deliveries, drive-thrus and curbside service in recent weeks. It's only the sit-down service that was closed.

2 new COVID-19 cases 

On Thursday, two new cases were announced by the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Both cases are in the far north, where the majority of new cases have been in recent weeks.

The cumulative total is now 622 cases, with 106 considered active. Fifteen more people have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 509.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe details what will open under the next phase of reopening, slated for June 8. 1:08
There were 2 cases of COVID-19 announced on Thursday, both in Saskatchewan's far north region. (CBC)

The number of active cases in the far north region has dropped to 93, dropping below 100 active cases for first time since May 5th.

There are six active cases in the north region, five in the Saskatoon area, one in the central region and one in the Regina area.

There have been 244 cases recorded in the far north region overall. The province has recorded 110 cases in the north region, 165 cases in the Saskatoon area, 12 cases have been recorded in the central region, 76 in Regina area and 15 in the southern region.

The province has traced 139 cases to travel and 348 to community contacts (including mass gatherings).

There are 72 cases with no known exposure. Another 63 are being investigated.

With files from Alex Soloducha

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