On Monday, Feb. 14 at 12:01 a.m., Saskatchewan will put an end to the requirement to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to access businesses and other public spaces.
"Proof of vaccination has been an effective policy, but its effectiveness has run its course," a statement from premier Scott Moe reads.
"The benefits no longer outweigh the costs. It's time to heal the divisions over vaccination in our families, in our communities and in our province. It's time for proof of vaccination requirements to end."
The provincial government confirmed that eHealth Saskatchewan will continue to make proof of vaccination records and QR codes available for residents of the province for travel needs and to comply with requirements when in other areas of Canada.
"As we shift to living with COVID-19, there is a continuing need for personal responsibility, for self-monitoring, self-testing and self-management," Moe stated. "It will be important for individuals to assess their own risk and comfort levels, and to take appropriate action if they are unwell."
The provincial government is urging the public to wear their “best mask,” take advantage of rapid tests, practice regular hand washing, stay home if ill and get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose as soon as eligible.
All Saskatchewan residents between the ages of 12 and 17 are now able to receive a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Saskatchewan people 'know what’s required of them'
The public health orders in the province are set to expire on Feb. 28, including mandatory isolation and masking.
“Mandatory isolation has not been something that has largely been enforced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it started at 14 days, down to 10 and now ultimately at five,” Moe said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Saskatchewan people, they know what’s required of them to find our way back to a normal environment,...and it involves when you do test positive, that you isolate yourself for a period of five days so that you’re not spreading COVID to other people. It’s our expectation that Saskatchewan people are going to continue to do what they’ve been doing for quite a period of time now.”
The premier said if a private business chooses to have a masking policy in place to enter that establishment beyond a requirement from the provincial government, “there’s really nothing the government can do” and customers can make a personal choice to go to that business, or not.
He added that the “goal” of his government is that no one will be required to provide a health record to gain entry to a space.
For any business that wants to consider a proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test policy beyond the provincial government’s end date, Moe said they should “consult their lawyer.”
“The government is removing any temporary protections that we had in place,” the premier said. “That is to create a unified access to schools, businesses and to our communities for all Saskatchewan residents.”