Saskatchewan’s premier said he’s “bullish” about the province’s ability for a strong economy as more businesses reopen.
Monday marks the start of Phase 3, which will see almost all closed businesses allowed to open their doors after restrictions were put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The only businesses which aren’t allowed to open are casinos, bingo halls and theatres.
On June 5, Statistics Canada’s labour report showed many employees going back to work have seen their hours reduced.
The premier believes that will be temporary.
“It’s our hope that those hours will be resumed and resumed very quickly. Because of the industries we have that I mentioned earlier that are creating wealth in our communities,” Scott Moe said during his June 8 press conference.
The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce said businesses applying physical distancing measures will take some getting used to, specifically for those dining at restaurants.
“They’re in a space, sitting there close to people for longer periods of time than they might have been in a retail store, and it’s a new environment for them. I think it’s going to take some time to get used to,” CEO Steve McLellan said.
He added customers have been cautious when going to retailers since they reopened in Phase 2, and he expects the same for restaurants and gyms over the next two weeks.
Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate at the end of February was 6.2 per cent.
As emergency measures were put in place and the pandemic landed in the province, it reached 7.3 per cent in March before jumping to 11.3 per cent in April.
A University of Saskatchewan economist told Global News the reopening plan stalled the rate in May.
The Stats Canada report revealed it’s at 12.5 per cent.
“Full employment, it might be one or two years down the road. But certainly we should be back into single-digit unemployment levels by the mid-summer,” Joel Bruneau said.
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