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Saskatchewan to lift public health measures July 11

Replies on Twitter were mixed. Some welcomed the announcement, others feared it was too soon, and others had skepticism about all the government’s actions – including those to come.

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Saskatchewan is close enough to its vaccination target it has confirmed all restrictions on event sizes and group gathering sizes will be lifted on July 11.

Premier Scott Moe released a two-minute video on Twitter from an empty Mosaic Stadium to make the announcement Sunday.

“We’re extremely close to reaching the final target – 70% of everyone over the age of 12 getting their first shot of vaccine. We will hit that target in the next couple of days,” Moe said.

“So no more limits on event sizes and on our group gathering sizes. And the province-wide mask order will end.”

Although springtime 2020 also saw case numbers drop, Moe credited vaccinations with lower case numbers.

“As our vaccine numbers went up, we saw our case numbers decline and our hospitalizations have also gone down and Saskatchewan has become a much safer place,” the premier said.

“If you haven’t done so already, go get your first shot. And when it’s your turn, go get your second shot. Let’s stick it to COVID, let’s fill this stadium, and let’s have a great Saskatchewan summer.”

Scott Moe tweet

Replies on Twitter were mixed. Some welcomed the announcement, others feared it was too soon, and others had skepticism about all the government’s actions – including those to come.

“How much you wanna bet he’ll reinstate those already [B.S.] restrictions again in the fall because of the made up ‘variants’,” asked Tracy (@ProvoGal01).

“Your messaging says it all ‘Let’s all enjoy a great Saskatchewan summer!’ Yeah right, because come fall, you’ll f___ with the people some more Wake up!”

Heather (@heathersk) responded with caution.

“I dearly hope this won’t prove to be too much too fast, with devastating effects. Health and the economy are not separate – and variants are a serious concern. Let us be guided by all of the emerging science.”

But Trent (@Tgreen66Trent) was jubilant.

“Good work to you, your team and the people of Sask!! Let’s get back to our lives as they are meant to be lived… July 11th should be celebrated!!”

Others, like Critical Elite Theory (@grumblinghive) urged the public to look back on 15 months of restrictions:

“Thank your government for letting you have the guaranteed rights they took away, for giving you back a now-destroyed economy, for killing your hopes and dreams, for the addictions, suicides and overdoses, and for children they terrified. Remember to thank them.”

A press release from the province included vaccination rates for each age group. Of those 80+, 92% received the first dose and 83% received the second. These percentages were 92 and 78 for those in their 70’s, 86 and 60 for those in their 60’s, 74 and 34 for those in their 50’s, 68 and 16 for those in their 40’s, 58 and eight for those in their 30’s, 53 and seven for those aged 18-29, and 55 and one for those aged 12-17.

Anyone who received their first dose on or before May 15 can get their second shot on June 21. Priority access for a second dose will be given for those diagnosed or being treated with cancer or those who have received organ transplants.

The release said since May 5 some people who had “contraindication for mRNA vaccines” had been given AstraZeneca for their first dose. It added that Saskatchewan residents could choose between AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer for their second dose.

Already, 48,441 Saskatchewan residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 47,135 have recovered.  In all there have been 79 inpatient/ICU hospitalizations and 563 deaths. Sixty new cases were reported on Sunday.

Saskatchewan is the second province in Canada to announce its upcoming removal of COVID restrictions. Jason Kenney made a similar announcement on Friday, effective July 1.

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Baron Not Baron

    June 21, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    Why the hell a minute more? Open the hell up!

  2. K

    June 21, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    I agree with Andrew. If the discourse in real life is anything like it has been online, I’d say we’re about 50/50. If they lie about the case numbers, they’re lying about the vaccination numbers. They are likely using this false 70% number to make people think they are in the minority, and to easier coax them in to getting it.

  3. Andrew Pludek

    June 21, 2021 at 10:02 am

    I dont trust any of the government numbers. I dont think they are anywhere near the vaccination targets. case in point, Germany, one of the most regulated and obedient populations in the world have reached 50% first dose, and only 20% second dose. Where were the line ups? Nowhere. Kenny Trudeau and now Moe are shills for the Pharma tyrants.

  4. Left Coast

    June 21, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Since 1/3 of Canadians have natural immunity, likely many months ago . . . this Premiers should have stopped the madness long before next month.
    Anyone who is paying attention knows that jurisdictions that did not do insane Lockdowns and Masks have been Normal for Months now.

    Our feckless Politicians and so-called Health authorities have been lyin to us for months and using the Fake PCR Test to gin up Scare & Fear with the help of the FakeStream Media.

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

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The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.

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Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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