Saskatchewan’s three phase re-opening strategy could lead to the resumption of numerous activities and events by mid-July, but only if Saskatchewan vaccination rates climb to 70 per cent among all adults.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe rolled out the provincial Re-Opening Roadmap on Tuesday, with the province aiming to achieve a series of vaccination thresholds as part of a three step strategy for easing Public Health measures in place to combat COVID-19.
Moe has long contended that the road to the end of the pandemic runs through vaccination clinics, so the provincial strategy will result in the gradual lifting of Public Health orders as Saskatchewan achieves “significant” vaccination levels.
The three step milestones are as follows:
STEP ONE – Three weeks have passed since 70 per cent of people age 40 and above have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Plus vaccine eligibility is open to all adults (18+) in the province.
CURRENT VACCINATION LEVEL – 65 per cent of adults aged 40 and over.
STEP TWO – Three weeks have passed since 70 per cent of people age 30 and above have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Plus three weeks have passed since the beginning of Step One.
CURRENT VACCINATION LEVEL – 53 per cent of adults aged 30 and over.
STEP THREE – Three weeks have passed since 70 per cent of people age 18 and above have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Plus three weeks have passed since the beginning of Step Two. CURRENT VACCINATION LEVEL – 44 per cent of adults aged 18 and over.
“Based on the current rate of vaccinations the province should enter Step One sometime in the last week of May. Step Two likely in about the third week of June. And Step Three will be in early to mid July,” Moe said during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update.
“I know that some will say that we are moving too slow on this reopening roadmap, while others will say that we maybe are moving too fast.”
“To those would like us to go faster, I would say that we do need to be cautious. While our case numbers and our hospitalizations have been stable or even declining slightly over the course of the past few weeks – both down about 20 per cent from their peak in April – we do need to wait just a few more weeks so that more people are able to access their vaccine before we start lifting current restrictions.”
“To those that may say we are going too fast, I would point to other countries who are further ahead of us in vaccinations and have been safely and successfully moving through their re-opening plans, which are very close to what we have here today.”
Moe pointed to the success of the United Kingdom strategy which is close to moving into Step Three of their re-opening plan, and that they expect to remove all of their remaining Public Health orders by June 21. The UK began Step One of their re-opening plan on March 8, when they had 43 per cent of their adult population having received their first dose of the vaccine. That is roughly where Saskatchewan is today, with 44 per cent of provincial adults receiving one vaccine dose.
“Case numbers and hospitalizations have continued to decline in the UK as they have carefully moved through the stages of their re-opening plan. And I believe we can do the same here. But it’s going to depend on more people getting vaccinated.”
Moe emphasized that no progress will be possible in Saskatchewan until the vaccination thresholds are met, and that people who are hesitant to receive a vaccination should rethink their position on getting their shot.
“I know there’s still people on the fence about receiving a vaccination. And I would say to them it’s time for you to get off that fence.”
“Every day across Canada, in this province, and around the world, vaccines are saving people’s lives. Countries with high rates of vaccinations are re-opening and they are getting back to normal. And at the same time, many countries that have not vaccinated a large number of their population are experiencing a very severe third wave.”
“So if you’re on the fence, this should really be one of easiest decisions that you’ll ever make in your life. On one side of that fence people are living. On the other side of fence people are dying. It’s quite simple for all of us.”
Full details on the re-opening plan are available at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2021/may/04/reopening-roadmap-a-gradual-measured-approach-to-easing-public-health-measures.