The premier of Saskatchewan says everyone needs to follow COVID-19 measures, adding that “enough is enough.”
Scott Moe referenced a recent video circulating on social media of Regina bar patrons who were not following public health guidelines last week.
“We see a video of a number of adults that are selfishly and drunkenly dancing around a restaurant or a bar right here in Regina,” Moe said.
“Enough is enough. It’s time for us to start enforcing those that are not following those measures.”
“It’s time for all of us as adults to do what our kids are doing and to adhere to the public health advice that is here, push these (COVID-19) numbers down to ensure that we have access to our vaccines so that we can return to some degree of normal life here in the province in the months ahead.”
The premier encouraged the escalation of coronavirus measures enforcement during a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.
“I have asked public health, as well as I would encourage law enforcement when people are flagrantly in violation of the public health orders, whether it be an individual or in particular, whether it be an establishment that is putting their staff, their employees, as well as their patrons at risk of contracting COVID, to not hesitate,” he said.
“I encourage our law enforcement and public health to escalate the enforcement.
Moe also said he’s asked public health to look at closures for businesses refusing to follow public health guidelines.
“Those establishments and even those individuals that are flagrantly operating outside of what the public health orders are, they do need to be punished,” he said.
“I’ve asked public health to look at is there other opportunities in addition to fines, including closing these bad actors indefinitely to ensure that we are having compliance in our communities.”
Fines for not following Saskatchewan’s public health orders, in cases where negligence or misconduct have been found, may be $2,000 for individuals and $10,000 for corporations, plus a victim surcharge.
Moe added on Tuesday he doesn’t believe putting new measures in place to bend the COVID curve down in Saskatchewan.
“We don’t need to punish all of those that are following the public health orders,” Moe said.
“The fact that we are seeing videos like we saw this past weekend do make us pause to ask ourselves the question as to do we have the right measures in place? Yes, I believe we do.
“Do we need to now ensure that the measures that are in place are adequately being enforced and those bad actors that are not enforcing the public health measures or those individuals that are not adhering to the public health measures are going to realize what the full consequences of the punishments are.”
Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, also spoke during the COVID-19 briefing.
“We continue to have active assessments on what additional public health measures may be required if our case numbers remain high or keep trending up,” Shahab said.
“But, I want to say clearly that our current measures, if they are complied with by, universally, they are sufficient to bring case numbers down. We saw that happening very dramatically in the middle of December.
“Obviously our hospitalizations and ICU admissions are trending up … when the hospital just can’t keep up and you have to make a decision between who gets treatment and who doesn’t. Of course, that’s a point of no return where you have to bring the hammer down to save the health system.”
In the province, 207 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19 — 176 are receiving inpatient care and 31 are in intensive care. There have been 225 COVID-19-related deaths in Saskatchewan to date.
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. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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