Saskatoon mayor calls for vaccine passports, vaccination requirements for certain activities

·3 min read
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark detailed health measures he'd like to see implemented in a Facebook post Tuesday night. (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark detailed health measures he'd like to see implemented in a Facebook post Tuesday night. (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)

Saskatoon's mayor is calling for a vaccine passport and other public health measures to protect against COVID-19.

Charlie Clark said restrictions need to be placed on people who choose not to be vaccinated.

On Tuesday night, Clark posted on Facebook about the pandemic situation in the city, detailing the reasons he'd like to see measures implemented.

According to Clark, the health-care system is being stretched thin, and local health officers and their teams can no longer keep up with contact tracing.

He also pointed to wastewater data in the city, which recently showed the highest ever amount of COVID-19 since researchers at the University of Saskatchewan began studying it.

"The delta variant is now the dominant strain in our city and province," Clark wrote. "Saskatoon is the hotspot in the province with cases rising exponentially each day in the past week."

In an interview with CBC, Clark said he believes measures should be put in place in the city, including vaccine passports, vaccination requirements for certain activities and mandatory testing. These measures would affect public services such as transit and leisure centres, and potentially city staff, he said.

"If there's a whole bunch of uncertainty about about what's going, if there's unvaccinated people in venues and the potential for the virus to spread, it's going to really have a significant detriment on our ability to function properly," Clark said.

WATCH| Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark wants to see more COVID-19 measures introduced in city:

According to Clark, the city doesn't have the authority to issue broader health mandates for areas like casinos and restaurants, which are not city services so fall under the realm of the provincial government.

"I hope that the provincial government will continue to take and follow very closely what's happening. Saskatoon is the hot spot right now with COVID, and [we have] to provide as much clarity as possible to make it so that it isn't up to each business owner or each municipality to figure this out on our own," Clark said.

He also said that city governance and emergency management teams are continually assessing the COVID-19 situation, and will be considering measures over the coming days.

"We do all have to work together and have the clearest guidelines possible so that society can function properly."

Clark's comments come shortly after the City of Saskatoon announced it would postpone its return to work plan as COVID numbers increase.

Clark added that the most important thing is for the city to go from 68 per cent of the population being vaccinated to 85 per cent.

Michael Bell/The Canadian Press
Michael Bell/The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan's Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili voiced support for implementing certain health mandates.

"Let's be looking at mask mandates, let's be looking at vaccine mandates. Let's use the tools we have to allow us to live the most normal version of life while keeping the most people alive," Meili said.

Meili also said he doesn't think it should be left to cities to come up with their own rules and plans, and called on the government to take action.

"We need guidance from the province, from our chief medical health officer, from the ministers and the premier," he said.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Saskatchewan government said the province would not be following Manitoba's recent decision to require vaccinations for provincial health-care workers. The province also said it is monitoring COVID-19 cases and will continue to take advice from the chief medical health officer.

Last week Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said that a vaccine mandate for provincial employees was not on the table, but encouraged residents to get vaccinated.

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