Saskatchewan has set the vaccination level threshold to remove all public health measures in the province, including mandatory masking and gathering size limits.
The province said that will occur three weeks after 70 per cent of the population aged 12 and older have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Three weeks must have also passed since the beginning of Step 2 of the reopening roadmap, which starts on June 20.
This means Saskatchewan could remove all public health measures as early as July 11.
“It’s really up to Saskatchewan people and how many of us make the choice to protect ourselves and those around us and get vaccinated,” Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday in a statement.
“Because that’s really what this is all about. The goal isn’t just to meet some target number we have set. The goal is to protect Saskatchewan people, so we can re-open safely.”
Currently, 66 per cent of those over the age of 18 have received their first dose, while 62 per cent of people aged 12 and older in Saskatchewan have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The government said it is providing the expected timeline for lifting the restrictions well in advance to allow for the planning of larger public events and family gatherings.
“Our path back to normal continues to be through our vaccinations and I want to thank all the residents of Saskatchewan who have chosen to keep themselves and their friends, families and communities safe,” Moe said.
“And to everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet, now is the time. Let’s get this done, Saskatchewan. We have had public health orders in place now for 445 days. They could all be removed in a little over a month from now, if enough of us get vaccinated.”
The province said the original Step 3 in the reopening roadmap currently remains in effect.
That will be met when 70 per cent of the people aged 18 and older have received their first vaccine dose and three weeks have passed since the start of Step 2.
Moe said although the province is reopening and a high number of people are vaccinated in Saskatchewan, COVID-19 isn’t going away.
“We’re going to continue to have COVID outbreaks and COVID spread far after we reopen this province,” Moe said.
“Unfortunately, those who do not get vaccinated may not have the chance to ensure they are not going to experience severe outcomes from COVID.”
Under Step 3, most remaining public health measures will be lifted, however, mandatory masking and gathering size limits will remain in place until 70 per cent of the population aged 12 and older have received their first vaccine dose.
“It is critical that over the next six weeks people still comply with all the measures in the workplaces and schools,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer.
“Even though there’s more we can do in terms of retail, restaurants, gatherings, we still have to comply with the measures that are currently in place.”