Dropping of public restrictions in Sask., doesn't mean a change for everyone

COVID-19 restrictions dropped on Sunday. Here's how some residents of Regina were approaching the new normal.

The 33 C heat on Sunday didn't stop Regina residents from enjoying the first day without mandatory masking

As of Sunday masks weren't required in public spaces in Saskatchewan anymore, but business still get to decide what rules they're enforcing. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Under a blistering hot Sunday sun Saskatchewan lifted all remaining public COVID-19 restrictions. 

The 33 C heat didn't prevent Regina residents from enjoying the first day without mandatory masking, limits on gatherings or social distancing. 

Residents could be seen sitting on patios, walking around Wascana Lake and congregating throughout the city. 

The congregation of the First Baptist Church Regina gathered in small groups on the stairs of the church. 

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean, lead pastor of the church, said restrictions are gone but his congregation still requires masks indoors during service and hand sanitization is still encouraged. 

Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean is the lead pastor at First Baptist Church Regina. He says the congregation will continue to wear masks indoors for the next few weeks. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC News)

"We want everyone to feel comfortable," Russell-MacLean said.

"The variants are out there and that we still have a few people, whether for health reasons or other reasons that haven't been vaccinated. It's doing our best to keep the people that we care about much safer on Sunday mornings." 

Bryan Orthner, a member of the congregation, said he's happy to not have to wear a mask everywhere he goes — but he isn't throwing caution to the wind. 

"I'm still a little concerned about some of the new variants they're talking about and a chance that people could still get sick even after they've been vaccinated. But I'm not worrying too much about it for myself. I just want to make sure that, you know, everybody is safe," Orthner said. 

Many of those who spoke with CBC News on Sunday said the dropping of mandatory restrictions hasn't changed the personal decisions they'll be making when it comes to masks.

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If they were wearing them before the dropping of restrictions wasn't going to stop them from doing it now and vice-versa. But the lifting of restrictions wasn't received with universal acclaim. 

"I think they're being lifted too soon. Most of the people in the province now have a second vaccine, but there's still almost half who don't and we can't even vaccinate anybody eleven and under yet," said John Klein, who spending his day at Wascana Park. 

A short distance away, Jennifer Giovannetti, was spending the morning on a walk when she spoke with CBC News. 

"The way that they're dropping off I am a little nervous, not going to lie. I feel like everything's opening up so fast," she said. 

Giovanetti said she's a business owner who works from home and that she won't likely be changing her routine.

Jennifer Giovannetti says she still plans to wear a mask when she goes out to get groceries. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC News)

She doesn't wear a mask when out walking with her girlfriend because they are within each other's bubble.

But Giovanetti says she'll continue to wear a mask when going out to groceries. 

"I just went to the restaurant for the first time since [COVID-19] and it was a little weird taking my mask off," she said with a laugh. 

Premier Scott Moe said last week that the time where COVID-19 was controlled by government restrictions has come to an end. 

Saskatchewan now needs to learn to live with COVID-19, he said.