Saskatchewan. Prime Minister defends decision to end vaccine evidence warrant
As Saskatchewan lifts its requirements for proof of vaccination or negative test to enter businesses, Premier Scott Moe says now is the time to start ending restrictions.
Starting Monday, people will no longer need to show proof of vaccination to enter many facilities, including restaurants, liquor stores and theaters. The provincial health order requiring the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces will expire on February 28.
Speaking to CBC Radio The morning edition On Monday, Moe said Omicron’s current variant of COVID-19 is not as dangerous as previous variants.
“What we’re seeing is a variant that’s not as severe in general terms,” Moe said.
“It can be as bad in individual terms, but not as bad in general terms when it comes to the hospitalization of Saskatchewan residents.”
16:13Premier Scott Moe talks about ending COVID-19 public health orders
At a public meeting of doctors last week, doctors learned Saskatchewan hospitals are now caring for the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began. The presentation indicated that hospital admissions are at high levels across all age groups and intensive care unit occupancy continues to be high.
In response, Premier Moe said the latest figures released by the province show that less than half of the province’s total COVID-19 patient load are people who have been admitted with the disease, as opposed to cases. serendipitous, where someone came for something else and then was diagnosed with COVID-19.
“That’s not to say that those who have COVID, but are there for a different reason, don’t need additional care. And that’s why we’re doing everything we can to support our frontline healthcare workers at our facilities across this province,” Mo said.
“But when you compare those primary COVID hospitalizations to the primary COVID hospitalizations we would have had with a much more severe strain like Delta, those numbers were very different.”
Premier Moe said the province will increasingly rely on rapid home testing to limit the spread of COVID-19. He expects people to stay home if they test positive and wait until they no longer transmit the virus.
“I have faith in the company and the people that they most definitely will,” Moe said.
“The people of Saskatchewan did the right thing. They made the right decisions throughout this pandemic.”
Regarding the protesters in the convoy, Moe said the mandates across the country are divisive and the protesters deserve to be heard. However, he said that does not mean people can flout the law.
“When this law is broken, as we saw what happened on the Windsor Bridge yesterday, law enforcement officials must intervene,” he said.
“The RCMP, Regina Police Service and others have done an outstanding job working with these convoy organizers to ensure they are not in a position where they are breaking the law. What we see in Ottawa is quite different.
Councilors in Regina and Saskatoon have voted to end their requirement for proof of vaccinations at municipal facilities.
The two cities differ on masking protocols: Regina city councilors chose to end theirs in a close 6-4 vote, while the city of Saskatoon will continue theirs at recreation centers, skating rinks owned by the city and on the Saskatoon Transit.
The City of Prince Albert chose to follow the province’s lead and lift proof of vaccination restrictions on Monday and masking requirements on February 28.
Long-term care following provincial leadership on vaccines
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said it will remove the proof of vaccination mandate for “visitors and essential family support” in all facilities, including long-term care homes starting Monday.
“This does not mean the COVID-19 pandemic is over but does indicate a necessary transition to living with COVID,” he said in a press release. “Transmission of COVID-19 and its variants will continue to pose a risk across the province. »
However, people will still be required to mask up at all SHA facilities. Those who fail to do so will be refused entry.
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Companies, residents are preparing for the lifting of mandate
Some companies that have spoken to CBC News have come out in favor of scrapping the vaccination mandate in the province.
“Being able to improve this aspect, we expect to see a return to increased revenue. It may take a while, but it’s definitely very good news for us,” Jim Bence, CEO of Hospitality Saskatchewan, told CBC News on Wednesday.
Not all residents are happy with the provincial abandonment of mandates.
“We are still in the middle of the pandemic, so now is not the best time for us to lift proof of vaccination,” Idowu Akindele told CBC News on Wednesday.
Premier Scott Moe has suggested companies looking to keep their vaccination proof mandate consult their lawyer because without a public health order they would have no legal protection.
A labour, employment and human rights lawyer said companies should still be able to impose vaccination mandates without fear of legal action.
“The question for a private company comes down to whether asking for proof of vaccination violates Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code. Nothing in the code prohibits asking for proof of vaccination,” said Roger Lepage, attorney. at Miller Thomson. LLP in Regina, CBC News told Thursday.
Schools navigate COVID-19 policy changes
The province’s two universities will retain the proof-of-vaccination policy while the province removes it provincewide.
At the University of Regina, unvaccinated or undeclared people will be required to submit rapid antigen tests three times a week at school until April 11, the last day of class of the semester.
There is an exception for periodic visitors who are on campus for activities or events.
The University of Saskatchewan will require the same weekly tests until April 8.
Masks will be mandatory at both schools: in Saskatoon until April 30 and in Regina until further notice.
Most Saskatchewan school divisions for elementary and secondary schools plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions, as the province suggests, to the dismay of some parents and the relief of others.
“Families I spoke to were relieved when I indicated that we could continue to provide isolation rooms if a student became ill; that we would continue to monitor for symptoms and require that people with symptoms like COVIDs stay home,” Quintin Robertson, director of education for the Good Spirit School Division, said Friday.
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