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Saskatchewan’s proof of vaccination, negative test result policy now in effect

Public service employees are also required to provide proof of vaccination or provide a negative COVID-19 test result at least every seven days. Liam Richards / The Canadian Press

Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test result is now required for the public to access a variety of businesses and venues in Saskatchewan.

Requirements came into effect Friday after the province reported over 600 new cases and 10 deaths from COVID-19 complications on Thursday.

Proof of vaccination will not be asked for at retail businesses like grocery stores, places of worship, fast food restaurants which offer takeout and delivery, private indoor gatherings and hotels.

Read more: Exclusive look inside Moderna: Tracking variants and the call for COVID-19 boosters

Children under the age of 12 are also exempt from the requirements.

The province reminds the public that indoor masking is still in effect for all indoor public venues.

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Which public spaces are asking for proof

Multiple businesses, event venues and establishments will request proof of vaccination or negative test result for public access.

The public health order states that the rule will apply mainly to non-essential businesses such as restaurants, including restaurants in hotels and other lodgings that are not considered fast food restaurants, along with nightclubs, bars, taverns, party buses and other places where alcohol is served.

Read more: What to know about proof of vaccination requirements at Regina facilities

Event and entertainment venues that will require proof include:

  • theatres
  • cinemas
  • bingo halls, casinos and other gaming establishments
  • concerts
  • live-music venues
  • fitness centres and gyms
  • standalone liquor and cannabis retail sales locations
  • facilities hosting sporting events where tickets are required that have GST charged on the ticket

The government says proof will not be required for fast food businesses, whether individuals are dining indoors or outdoors, since “the length of stay is typically shorter than for indoor dining at restaurants.”

Proof will also not be needed when visiting food courts in malls.

What’s acceptable for proof documents

The Saskatchewan government says there are a number of options that work as acceptable proof of vaccination when visiting businesses, events and other public spaces.

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Residents are able to download a QR code vaccine certificate from their MySaskHealthRecord account.

The certificate can either be printed off or be shown on a mobile device as a screenshot or on the SK Vax Wallet phone app. However, the app is not yet available on Android devices.

Read more: Saskatoon implementing proof-of-vaccination policy at leisure centres

According to eHealth Saskatchewan, the app may not be ready for another several days for Android users.

Other options include vaccination wallet cards provided at the time of immunizations or a COVID-19 vaccination printout from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

Providing proof of negative test

Saskatchewan will also accept proof of a negative COVID-19 test result for individuals who don’t have vaccination proof, however, test results will need to from within the last 72 hours.

The government says self-administered take-home rapid antigen test will not be accepted as valid proof of a negative test result.

Read more: Saskatchewan Health Authority no longer testing asymptomatic people for COVID-19

The SHA is also no longer supporting testing for asymptomatic individuals at public testing sites, which means costs of asymptomatic testing will be the responsibility of the individual.

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There are a variety of options to provide a negative test result such as rapid antigen tests or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests charged for a fee. A list of locations offering testing services can be found at the provincial government website.

Medical exemptions for vaccination proof

Dr. Saqib Shahab, the chief medical health officer for Saskatchewan, said less than one per cent of the population would quality for medical exemptions when providing proof of vaccination.

Many questions are still circulating on this front, however, according to the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons, the only reasons why doctors should write a vaccine exemption are for a severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction, and the other is a rare heart condition.

Read more: Sask. government unclear on medical exemptions for proof of vaccination, according to Regina woman

Individuals who choose not to be vaccinated due to personal reasons are not exempt under the human rights code, according to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. However, the commission says there are some people who cannot accept the vaccine due to a reason protected by the code.

The Ministry of Health also shared with Global News that other exemptions could be determined with medical practitioner consultation.

With files from The Canadian Press and Taz Dhaliwal

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