Sask. government turns down Saskatoon's request to limit gathering sizes

·2 min read
The provincial government said it has no plans to limit the number of people gathering in private homes.  (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)
The provincial government said it has no plans to limit the number of people gathering in private homes. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)

The Government of Saskatchewan said it won't limit the number of people who gather in homes in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19, following a request to do so in the city of Saskatoon.

The move comes after Saskatoon City Council asked the provincial government in a letter on Friday, to restrict gatherings inside homes in the city to 15 people.

The council, which can put limits in place for civic facilities like recreation centres, can't tell homeowners or businesses what to do. That falls under provincial jurisdiction.

The council wanted the province to put restrictions in place to slow down the number of new COVID-19 cases in the city, which have been the highest in Saskatchewan for weeks. On Tuesday, there were 1,063 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatoon.

Unvaccinated people

However, when asked specifically about Saskatoon's plan, the provincial government sent an emailed response to CBC today saying it would not be making an order to limit the sizes of gatherings.

"The vast majority of new cases and hospitalizations are unvaccinated residents, and those who are not vaccinated should get vaccinated," the email stated.

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said he's worried about the number of COVID-19 cases.

"We remain very concerned about the dire situation of our health system," Clark said in an email to the CBC today.

"[We] know that many residents are increasingly worried about hospital services available due to the large numbers of COVID patients," Clark said.

On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan government announced it would not be bringing in any extra restrictions for the Thanksgiving long weekend, despite calls from many different groups, including the Saskatchewan Medical Association and the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses to do so.

Mayor Clark urged people to be careful over the holiday and modify their gatherings as much as possible.

"We strongly ask that people take extra care and do what they can to be safe," he said. "This means asking for the vaccination status of your guests, keeping your gatherings small and taking the visiting outside."

Saskatoon city council's letter to the province also asked for public indoor and outdoor gatherings to be limited to 150 people, or one-third of a building's capacity. The government hasn't responded to them yet.

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