Regina drops State of Emergency declaration; will follow provincial guidelines

Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said the city is rescinding its Local State of Emergency order. Derek Putz / Global News

The City of Regina is rescinding their Local State of Emergency declaration.

“We’ve had some communications with the province and they plan on receding our declaration as is the right and they certainly can do that,” Fougere said Monday morning, following discussions with Government Relations Minister Lori Carr.

On Friday, the city made the announcement, limiting gatherings to no more than five people and closing all non-essential retail business.

READ MORE: Regina declares local state of emergency, limiting size of gatherings

Later that afternoon, the provincial government made their own announcement closing all restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, and limiting gatherings to no more than 25 people.

By Sunday, the province had once again updated their stance, noting they would supersede any and all local declarations that did not follow provincial guidelines.

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Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19' Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19
Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19 – Mar 20, 2020

“I actually understand and respect what the community was doing and what they were trying to get through to their citizens having said that it’s really important that we ensure that there is not a patchwork of restrictions and standards,” Minister Carr said on a teleconference. “Right now it is of the utmost importance we maintain uniformity across Saskatchewan and reduce any level of confusion among our residents.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan municipalities can’t make up their own coronavirus regulations: province

The City of Regina says they set their guidelines off the province’s own chief medical officer.

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Dr. Saqib Shahab had previously said that although the provincial regulations mandated gatherings of no more than 25 people, he would avoid close gatherings with more than five people.

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“We felt that this was our community’s view but we also know the province can do this very thing and I have expressed my disappointment and [am] urging the province to add more regulations, to tighten it up and make it more restrictive now and not wait,” Fougere said Monday.

“They want to have a uniform application of emergency act across the province and no variance locally and I can understand that but one way to resolve that is to say what is Regina doing, why are they saying this and let’s maybe ramp ours up to meet that,” he continued.

Retail stores would have closed Monday in the provincial capital, but as a result of the provincial declaration that is no longer the case.

“The regulations we have address restaurants and bars. We don’t have any restrictions against regular retail, so yes, they can be open,” said Carr.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: University of Regina professor exploring impact on mental health

The government has also spoken to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities to ensure all communities are aware of the province’s restrictions.

The province’s public order can be found here, and includes limiting crowds to 25 people or less and ordering the closure of all recreational and entertainment facilities.

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Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk for Canadians is low.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend social distancing, frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

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