COVID-19 restrictions extended in Saskatchewan until Jan. 29

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WATCH: Saskatchewan's current public health measures were set to expire on Friday, but the government has announced an extension of the current rules, while the Opposition calls for tougher measures.

Saskatchewan has extended its public health measures for another two weeks.

The order issued on Dec. 17 was set to expire on Friday.

The province said it will remain in effect until Jan. 29 due to current COVID-19 transmission rates.

Read more: Saskatchewan eyes extending public health rules as 412 new coronavirus cases reported

Premier Scott Moe said the restrictions were extended on the advice of the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“Prior to Christmas, we did see these measures starting to have a positive effect in lowering our case numbers in Saskatchewan,” Moe said during a press conference.

“However, since Christmas and New Year’s, we’ve seen the case numbers on the rise again. That’s why these restrictions are being extended for a least an additional two weeks.”

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Moe said the measures will be re-evaluated in two weeks and either extended or revised.

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Coronavirus: Saskatchewan extends public health restrictions for two weeks

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili said increasing case numbers show the current measures aren’t working and called on Moe to release updated modelling.

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As of Tuesday, the seven-day average of new daily cases is 321, or 26.5 cases per 100,000 people — the highest transmission rate since the start of the pandemic.

“We need clear information and clear thresholds for what happens depending on what the data shows,” Meili said in a statement.

“What happens when we reach 500 cases a day? What happens if it goes higher? Half measures and hope is not a plan, it’s a recipe for failure.”

Moe said there are consequences to enacting more restrictions.

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“There’s consequences to individuals in our communities across the province when it comes to mental health. There’s consequences to our youth (with) their access to recreation opportunities,” Moe said.

“The measures that are in place are not insignificant by any stretch.”

Under the order, masks are required to be worn in all indoor public places.

Private indoor gatherings are limited to immediate household members, and only up to 10 people are able to gather outdoors, provided physical distancing can be maintained.

Among restrictions at restaurants and bars is a limit on seating to four people at a single table and cutting off alcohol sales at 10 p.m.

Retail services must operate at 50-per-cent capacity, while retail businesses over 20,000 square feet are limited to 25-per-cent capacity.

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Read more: Coronavirus vaccines arrive in remote First Nations across Canada

Sports leagues and activities remain suspended, but athletes and dancers 18 years of age and younger are allowed to practice in groups of eight or fewer provided three metres of physical distancing can be maintained.

A maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend places of worship for events such as weddings, funerals, and baptismal services, but no food or drink may be present or served.

Indoor public banquets, conferences, wedding and funeral receptions in public venues are limited to 30 people, with no food or beverages allowed.

Visits to long-term care and personal care homes remain suspended except for compassionate reasons.