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Coronavirus: Here’s what you can and can’t do in Phase 4.2 of Saskatchewan’s reopen plan

Phase 4.2 of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan amid the novel coronavirus pandemic starts on Monday, June 29.
Phase 4.2 of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan amid the novel coronavirus pandemic starts on Monday, June 29. File / Global News

The second part of Phase 4 of Re-Open Saskatchewan will begin Monday, June 29, with some restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic lifting.

Guidelines scheduled to take effect in Phase 4.2 of the provincial government’s plan involve libraries, museums, art galleries and theatres.

Read more: Coronavirus: Saskatoon playwright says empty theatres a chance to reflect on art’s future

Here is what you need to know as the province continues to reopen in phases amid the pandemic.

Can I enjoy a flick with some buttery popcorn at the movie theatre?

Get comfortable, you’ll likely have lots of legroom.

Movie theatres can resume operations with a maximum of 30 per cent capacity and up to 150 people per theatre room, as long as physical distancing exists between non-household contacts.

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Health officials have the following guidelines for theatre operators to help ensure seating allows for two metres of separation between customers who are not in the same group:

  • leave alternating rows empty;
  • block off unavailable rows;
  • Remind patrons to leave the appropriate number of seats empty between parties; and
  • Block off seats bordering aisles so people aren’t required to walk close to others when coming or going from their seats.

To exit theatres so that physical distancing is maintained, guidelines recommend doing this through visual markings and calling row numbers to limit the number of patrons leaving once the show is over.

Movies, theatres and museums able to reopen Monday in Saskatchewan, but some waiting
Movies, theatres and museums able to reopen Monday in Saskatchewan, but some waiting

If theatre performers are allowed, then why not musicians?

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Clarity is coming.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said on June 25 that guidelines for music venues are being developed with many aspects to consider.

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“If you’re singing and you’re facing someone, it’s probably better, a good idea to be more than two metres away, maybe three meters or more. Same applies to wind instruments, the evidence is there that if you’re playing a wind instrument, a greater separation among musicians and from musicians and the audience is a good idea,” he said.

“So, obviously, those considerations about how a band or a group can perform, whether they’re singing or playing wind instruments, those guidelines are being developed.”

Read more: Drive-in concerts, movies part of ‘new reality’ for Saskatchewan entertainment

Shahab said he thinks the main consideration would on how much space you can give, safely, between performers and the audience.

“Sometimes there may not be the space to fit in a reasonable number of people and even within the allowed limits and a band or performers in a safe manner… and what we’re learning about what’s a safe distance will be applied for future recommendations,” he said.

“We’ll come out with further guidelines… but certainly, for static venues, you can plan out in a more precise manner and start safely. So that would apply to, for example, static performing venues or theatres.”

Phase 4.2 guidelines dictate seating for live theatric performances must be at least two metres from the stage. If interaction occurs between performers and audiences, it must follow social distancing requirements.

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If I maintain physical distancing, can I see paintings at art galleries again with my own eyes?

Enjoy, but don’t touch the art.

Museums, art galleries and libraries are allowed to reopen as long as they maintain an occupancy level that allows staff and patrons to physical distance, except for brief exchanges.

High-touch displays and interactive objects require enhanced cleaning and disinfection, according to guidelines.

While permitted by the province, it’s important for check with operators as, for example, the Saskatoon Public Library said its date for reopening doors isn’t known yet. Likewise, Regina Public Library is planning to have all its facilities reopened by July 13.

When it comes to returning books to libraries, health officials have the following guidelines to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus:

  • When possible, disinfect all surfaces of the returns; and
  • If items cannot be disinfected, isolate items in a separate bin for at least 72 hours before returning to shelves.

Read more: Saskatchewan driving tests resume, post-coronavirus shutdown

Was there not more previously announced for Phase 4.2?

Hold on, more is coming.

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The second part of Phase 4 is still expected to have re-opening guidelines for indoor pools, indoor rinks, indoor sports, casinos and bingo halls. These can be expected next week, according to Premier Scott Moe on June 25.

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

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. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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