Saskatoon might drop COVID-19 vaccine necessities at municipal areas

If the province moves to relax public health measures, the City of Saskatoon could follow suit.

Premier Scott Moe has signalled that changes could soon be coming to Saskatchewan’s public health order which requires mask-wearing in public places and proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result in some settings.

Moe and Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab are scheduled to appear at a news conference in Regina Tuesday morning.

However, it’s not known if any announcements regarding COVID-19 health measures are planned.

While the future of the public health order — set to expire Feb. 28 — is up in the air, city administration is recommending an adjusted approach municipally if the measures lift.

“The lifting of the public health orders does not mean there is no longer a risk of COVID-19 in Saskatoon, but it shifts the responsibility for management of this risk from the provincial government to individuals, businesses, organizations, and municipalities,” Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city’s Emergency Management Organization director said in a news release.

In a report to city council, administration is recommending that councillors should scrap the city’s proof of vaccination requirements for city facilities.

The report also recommends an end to masking requirements on city buses. However, masks would still be recommended.

The report does suggest masking requirements remain in place at city facilities.

Measures such as enhanced cleaning, physical distancing and a requirement to avoid city facilities if symptomatic may remain in place.

“The city will continue its focus on educating and informing the public rather than enforcing the use of face masks within city-owned facilities and services,” Goulden-McLeod said.

The recommendations would require council approval to move forward. A special meeting of council is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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