Coronavirus: Holiday restrictions in Saskatchewan met with disappointment, understanding

Click to play video: 'Holiday restrictions in Saskatchewan met with disappointment, understanding' Holiday restrictions in Saskatchewan met with disappointment, understanding
WATCH: New public health orders mean people won't be able to gather with family and friends like they normally would this holiday season. Roberta Bell has more on how people are responding. – Dec 15, 2020

With the holiday season fast approaching, people across Saskatchewan are revisiting their plans given a new public health order limiting private indoor gatherings to immediate households only.

Premier Scott Moe made the announcement Monday afternoon and by Tuesday morning, some had pulled the plug on their already scaled-down festivities.

Read more: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan restricting indoor gatherings to immediate household members

It’s effective Thursday and will remain in place until at least Jan. 15.

Janet Hilderman had hoped to have her elderly parents, grown daughter and daughter’s boyfriend over for a small dinner.

Instead, Hilderman said it will just be she and her husband this year.

While it’s disappointing, “I think it’s important that we all do this because things are getting out of control,” Hilderman said.

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COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly across Saskatchewan in recent months and weeks. Since the first case was reported in March, there have been more than 12,000 more. About 4,200 were active as of Tuesday afternoon. Nearly 100 people have died.

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Epidemiologist questions efficacy of Sask. PHOs as COVID-19 cases surpass 10,000 – Dec 7, 2020

Braydin Collin was looking forward to going to see his cousin, but won’t be doing so anymore.

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He said he understands why mitigating measures are behind enhanced and is frustrated by people who have flouted past restrictions.

“It sucks,” he said, adding he hopes those who have been in defiance start taking the situation more seriously. “If people listen to the rules and people stay home and stay to the restrictions, I’m sure it will be fine.”

Read more: Saskatchewan premier hopeful restrictions will loosen at Christmas despite COVID-19 caseload

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Not being able to gather with loved ones over the holiday season could add to the anxiety people are already experiencing, says Sidney McGillicky, a trauma therapist with Living Sky Counselling.

“The thing about Christmas is Christmas is full of hope, joy, presents, food, love and so we really really soak that up because it’s really good for us,” McGillicky said.

“We want to be with our loved ones at Christmastime,” he added. ” When you can’t, it’s going to cause natural distress.”

Two weeks earlier, the premier said he was holding onto hope restrictions could relax around the holidays, noting that time needed to pass to judge the efficacy of the five-person gathering cap implemented in late November.

Read more: Saskatchewan brings in province-wide mask mandate, limits gatherings to 5

Sue Meyers wishes that the province had acted faster.

“Maybe we could have had an opportunity to have Christmas together as a family,” she said. “That’s not going to happen now.”

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