Sask. Premier Scott Moe says his government will announce on Tuesday details of a plan to slowly lift COVID-19 restrictions once the province hits yet-to-be-specified vaccination rates.
“We’re going to talk about what the metrics are with respect to our vaccination rates and how that is going to impact what we can and can’t have access to in our communities over the weeks ahead,” Moe said on Monday.
He did not provide more information in the way of details regarding what he dubbed “a roadmap to recovery” but hinted the province may borrow elements from other countries’ plans.
“If you look at what they did, for example, in the U.K., you didn’t wake up one morning, hit a certain percentage and then open everything up. And I don’t think anybody is expecting that,” Moe said. “This is more like turning up the lights with a dimmer switch.”
Moe warned that the plan is contingent on people taking COVID-19 doses.
As of Monday, 43% of Saskatchewan residents aged 18 and above have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Moe said the vaccination rate was a more preferable metric to look at compared to Sask.’s seven-day average of daily new cases, which stood at 230, or 18.8 new cases in every 100,000 people, as of Monday.
Ryan Meili, the leader of the Sask. NDP, said the province’s inoculation rate should be “a big part” of any plan to reopen the region. However, the leader of the Opposition said other factors like hospitalizations and COVID-19 caseloads should be considered too.
The plan needs to include specific thresholds for lifting restrictions, Meili said.
“We’ll see what tomorrow looks like,” he said.
Moe normally hosts a COVID-19 press conference, alongside Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Sadiq Shahab, Tuesdays at 3 p.m CST.
No move toward border restrictions with Alberta
During the same scrum where he spoke about the reopening plan, Moe confirmed his administration is not considering border crossing restrictions with Alberta, where COVID-19 cases are rising, even as he acknowledged traffic is heavy between the two provinces.
“We are most certainly aware and watching closely and feel for our friends in Alberta but [remain focused] very much on delivering vaccines to Saskatchewan people,” Moe said.
Meili said restrictions should be considered if COVID-19 cases spike in Sask. as they have in Alberta.
“I would like to have some clear public health advice on what those risks are,” Meili said.
In its latest COVID-19 update to physicians on Thursday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority reported that
“uncontrolled intra- and inter-provincial travels is driving ongoing transmission and [facilitating] the speed of variant spread.”