Step 1 of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan came into effect over the weekend. For many, it brings back a long-lost sense of normalcy, but others may not be as ready to return.
You may see a few more people crowding around tables. Starting Sunday, restaurants and bars across the province were able to increase table sizes from four to six.
It made a big difference for Las Palapas in Saskatoon.
The manager said the restaurant was packed Sunday, and even saw old regulars returning.
“I had a phone call this morning that a group of ladies who used to come in weekly are finally making the come in, and they’re excited, they’ve been vaccinated,” said manager Jason Wosminity.
Restrictions mean restaurants and bars can increase capacity but still must maintain two meters of distance.
“You have to do some juggling,” explained Wosminity.
“You have to make sure the tables are still two metres apart and the customers are still two metres apart and yet add more to the table.
Meanwhile, dance floors and buffets remain closed, while outdoor sports have returned.
Capacity at private gatherings, inside or out, is limited to 10 people. You can read more about phase one of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan here.
Still concerns around mental health
While reduced restrictions are expected to be a positive for mental health, the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Saskatoon chapter said for some it may bring more anxiety.
“We’ve fundamentally changed our behaviours and it’s going to take us a little bit of time I think to ease ourselves back in to what would be normal relationship things that we’re used to,” said executive director Faith Bodnar.
The association said it’s normal to not feel normal.
“We’re still worried about our health, our physical and our mental health, our safety, and for us to step out of these restrictions it’s going to require some confidence and also some trust that it’s going to be safe,” she said.
For establishments like Las Palapas, staff said they are excited for an eventual return to full capacity.
“I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like,” said Wosminity
“We’ve kind of all forgotten and to just not have to take down people’s names and numbers and not have that extra step and just being open and things normal, I can’t wait.”
The Canadian Mental Health Association said it suggests talking to friends and family or loved ones if you are struggling, or to reach out to counselling services or help lines.