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Saskatchewan COVID-19 restriction lifting plan expected Tuesday

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe puts on his mask after speaking to media, following a the State of the Province Address Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, Monday, October 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is expected to unveil a roadmap Tuesday that lays out an end of COVID-19 restrictions following the peak of the Omicron wave.

A briefing is planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday and will include comments from the premier and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

Global News is live streaming the briefing.

“We’re going to chart the course forward throughout the next number of weeks, throughout February,” Moe told talk show host John Gormley on 650 CKOM and 980 CJME on Monday.

Read more: Saskatoon proposes lifting some COVID-19 protocols as province prepares to end public health orders

Currently, Saskatchewan’s public health orders include an isolation requirement for people infected with COVID-19, mandatory facemasks in indoor public spaces and a proof of vaccination or negative test requirement in most businesses.

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The orders are set to expire at the end of February, but Moe has hinted at ending them earlier on multiple occasions.

Moe said Saskatchewan residents are in a “strong position,” capable of assessing their own COVID-19 risks including with the use of rapid antigen tests. He also encouraged people to get vaccinated and, if infected, consider getting treatments like monoclonal antibodies and the newly-available Paxlovid.

Read more: Medical experts reject statements by Scott Moe that vaccines don’t stop COVID-19 spread

“Our numbers have dropped. Our hospitalizations now are starting to drop,” Moe said.

Roughly 60 per cent of business owners and stakeholders would support the lifting of the vaccine passport or negative test requirement by the end of the month, according to InputSask, an online feedback portal of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. The findings were reported by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.

Thirty-two per cent of people said they don’t want the requirement removed, while only six per cent wanted more restrictions, according to inographics posted on Monday.

More than 500 respondents took part in a separate survey by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce. It found 61 per cent of business owners and stakeholders still want the option of requiring customers to wear masks or physically distance.

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Read more: The great COVID-19 infodemic: How disinformation networks are radicalizing Canadians

However, a proof of vaccination or negative test policy requires a platform — like the current government smartphone app.

“Businesses feel that it would be great if that particular tool could also continue on a voluntary basis if the technology and legal protections were available,” said Jason Aebig, CEO of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.

Despite a majority of survey respondents supporting voluntary vaccine verification, only 46 per cent said they would use the policy at their business, while 40 per cent said they wouldn’t and 14 per cent were unsure.

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Saskatchewan COVID-19 restriction lifting plan expected Tuesday – Feb 7, 2022

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