Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has come to the defence of a Prince Albert-area bar that employs a server who tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, prompting health officials to warn customers who had visited the business over the weekend.
"Anecdotally, I've heard that this particular business had great measures in place not only to protect their staff but also to protect the customers and it's our true hope that that is the case," Moe said during a COVID-19 news conference Tuesday.
On Monday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) alerted customers who had attended Sunnyside Beach Bar at Emma Lake this past weekend that a server has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Patrons were asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of the virus.
"If symptoms develop, please isolate immediately and contact 811," the SHA said.
Emma Lake is located about 50 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert.
In a Facebook post, the business clarified that the server developed symptoms on Monday and also tested positive on Monday, their day off. The days listed by the health authority represent shifts the server worked.
"All public health guidelines were followed as per public health as per cleaning and sanitizing and recommendations as per public healths recent in-house inspection with reduced hours and seating," according to the post.
"Please refrain from any negative comments as we focus on the well-being of our staff member and our current situation with the information we have from public health."
People flooded the post's comment thread with messages of support.
Contact tracing begun
In a followup post on Tuesday, the bar said it would pull back from making comments on social media and that it planned to remain closed until Thursday evening.
"We feel we need time to take in what has happened and focus on not only the well-being of our staff member, and our current situation, but also to make sure ourselves and our families are OK during this difficult time."
The health authority said it has begun contract tracing of the server's identified close contacts.
CBC News has reached out to the restaurant for direct comment.
Indoor seating cap for restaurants to be lifted
The Saskatchewan government announced Tuesday that the current restriction limiting restaurants to 50 per cent of their indoor seating capacity will be lifted on June 6.
According to the updated reopening plan, the cap will be removed and seating capacity will be allowed to rise "to a level that allows staff and customers to maintain two metres of physical distance."
Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer, was asked if the Emma Lake case gave health officials pause about relaxing the rules.
Shahab said the province heard from businesses who said they were confident their capacity could increase "while still maintaining that physical separation between groups."
Still, even with measures like increased sanitization in place, Shahab warned that customers who choose to take part in activities such as playing pool do so at some potential personal risk.
"We need to be cautiously optimistic but not complacent," he said of the relaxed rules.