Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the provincial restrictions currently in place to combat COVID-19 will likely remain in effect through the coming Christmas season.
Moe said in a scrum with reporters Tuesday that the measures adopted more than a month ago — including public indoor masking, self-isolation for infected people, and the proof-of-vaccination system — have helped reduce transmission of the disease.
"We'll see those measures likely continue for at least through the Christmas season and we'll reassess at that point," Moe said.
Moe acknowledged that Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, has stated the measures should remain in place going into the winter season and that it would be a "big mistake" to lift them.
"That seems reasonable to me," Moe said of keeping the measures in place for the weeks to come.
Moe said that while he has not met with Shahab or Heath Minister Paul Merriman to discuss extending the measures, an announcement on that decision will be made before the measures' Nov. 30 expiration date.
Infections linked to Halloween parties
Moe said he did not see any chance of his government imposing gathering restrictions in the coming weeks.
He did point to the recommendations Shahab has made to the public on that front, including not mixing unvaccinated and vaccinated people during indoor gatherings. Shahab has even recommended vaccinated people who are meeting privately mask up indoors if an elder with underlying health conditions is present.
Shahab was asked on Tuesday during a COVID-19 media briefing what should be done to avoid a fifth wave.
"We have to stay the course for the next four to six weeks," he said. "That makes it easier for us to have a safe holiday season. But I think you need to be cautious all the way until February, March."
Shahab had previously warned people to be take care when planning Halloween gatherings.
"We unfortunately have seen over the last two weeks clusters linked to Halloween parties," he said. "So, again, closed indoor environments [where] people gather, especially if they is a mix of unvaccinated and vaccinated, and maybe [masking] is not happening … I think those are the recipe for clusters."