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With large gatherings open again in Saskatchewan, is it safe to go? Experts advise caution

Click to play video: 'With large gathers open again in Saskatchewan, is it safe to go? ‘You’re still taking a chance’: doctor' With large gathers open again in Saskatchewan, is it safe to go? ‘You’re still taking a chance’: doctor
WATCH: Despite restrictions lifted and events starting again in Saskatchewan, some doctors say joining large gatherings may not be a good idea – Aug 6, 2021

With restrictions lifted across the province, large gatherings like the Saskatoon Ex, Saskatchewan Jazz Festival and Saskatchewan Roughriders games are back.

However, with the Delta variant on the rise, some doctors say you may want to stay home.

Read more: Breweries, volunteers prepare for first Saskatchewan Roughriders game day in 628 days

One epidemiologist with the University of Saskatchewan said ideally you should be fully vaccinated, and mask up.

“The risk level may be a little low compared to if you’re not fully vaccinated, but you’re still taking a chance,” said Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine.

“You might be that one in, two in 100 person who might pick it up.”

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Click to play video: 'Final preparations for this year’s Saskatoon Ex' Final preparations for this year’s Saskatoon Ex
Final preparations for this year’s Saskatoon Ex – Aug 6, 2021

Muhajarine said gatherings like sports games and other events could be an opportunity to set up pop-up vaccine clinics.

“Offer a little bit of swag, something to sweeten the deal,” he said. “Free beer, a free hot dog, what have you.”

The Saskatoon Ex said despite safety measures not being required by the province, it does have several, including lots of hand sanitizer. The event will also shut down for two days between weekends for cleaning.

Read more: Saskatoon Ex prepares for 2021 carnival-goers

“This year we have 42 rides and fewer vendors so that if you’d like to social distance while you stand in line, there’ll definitely be more room to do that,” said marketing manager Kristy Rempel.

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Click to play video: 'Regina hospitality industry seeing green as Rider return kicks off' Regina hospitality industry seeing green as Rider return kicks off
Regina hospitality industry seeing green as Rider return kicks off – Aug 6, 2021

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) said gatherings, especially indoors, create ideal conditions to spread COVID-19.

They said they are concerned about recent spikes in the Delta variant.

Read more: COVID-19: Saskatchewan’s death toll grows by 1, new infections highest in weeks

“When we see numbers going down starting to go up again it’s always a concern and we know it’s a big chance it can peak and the numbers are picking up,” said president Dr. Eben Strydom.

While people may be well-intentioned, doctors said realistically, safety in a crowd isn’t guaranteed.

“Some people might be wearing masks, other people may not be,” said Muhajarine.

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“I think most people may not be wearing a mask, that’s what I’m going to guess, and I don’t think it’s really a safe environment to be in.”

In previous years the Saskatoon Ex said it brought in around 200,000 people. It said it expects bigger crowds this year.

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