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COVID-19: Saskatchewan people, businesses prepare for life beyond the mask mandate

People and businesses reaction is mixed after all COVID-19 mandates have been lifted in Saskatchewan. File Photo Global News

People across Saskatchewan no longer have to wear masks — in fact, all COVID-19 restrictions and protocols are a thing of the past.

Residents can still wear masks if they choose. Yet opinions are mixed on the lifting of the rules.

“I don’t think it’s fair that you can go into a sporting event and don’t have to wear masks, but you did have to in schools. I’m 50/50 on it,” said one Regina resident.

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For some bars in Saskatoon, businesses will require masks for a little longer, by employee request, to keep all guests safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Other local businesses have told Global News the decision will be in the hands of customers.

People who are using city transit will have to wear masks for the foreseeable future after the city decided to keep the protocol in place.

“If there are any riders that come on the bus that don’t wear their masks, the operators have the ability to push a button that captures the route, the run, the GPS coordinates of the bus, after which a bus supervisor will have a chat with the person and go from there,” said Jim McDonald, Saskatoon Transit director.

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Dr. Joseph Blondeau, head clinical microbiologist at Royal University Hospital, is reminding people, especially those with underlying health conditions, that a mask and vaccination offer the best protection against COVID-19 and are options that should be utilized as the virus has not disappeared.

The need for you to protect yourself by wearing a mask is essential when you are in an environment of close contact with other people, or you have people coming into your social bubbles with a background you are unfamiliar with,” Blondeau said.

He said that while it is everyone’s own decision now, people should proceed each day with caution to avoid getting COVID-19.

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Read more: Saskatoon Transit extends COVID-19 mask requirement after city council approval

Scott Ford, executive director of SaskTel Centre, said now that all mandates are lifted, it’s up to visitors to decide what they want to do.

“We have followed the health protocols, the proof of vaccination until that lifted, and we followed mask-wearing. Now at SaskTel visitors will not be required to wear masks, unless they want to,” Ford said.

He added the centre has not had any issues with people following the rules, and according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, there haven’t been any outbreaks at events at SaskTel Centre.

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