Maybe it’s time to prepare the barbecue in the backyard.
Provincial health officials have told Saskatchewan residents that they can now converge in small meetings of less than 10 people, as long as they keep their contacts limited to certain families and people.
On Thursday, the province detailed its plans to reopen Saskatchewan over five phases, with the first phase starting on May 4.
However, on Thursday, Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said that small meetings between two or three families are probably OK.
“As long as people are comfortable and can keep their interactions limited to two or three friends or virtual families, most of the time, that would be something to sustain us in the coming weeks, but it would minimize the risk of transmission that can occur” from meetings bigger and meeting a lot of people, “Shahab said on Thursday.
However, he said that even those who belong to these groups need to be careful when sharing food or meals, since the virus is known to spread through these types of interactions.
“Try to meet the same people in the same house for years to come,” he said. “Don’t randomly meet three new people every day, because I think that’s where the risk increases.”
He said it is critical that these guidelines be followed, as a case of COVID-19 could quickly turn into thousands if proper practices are not followed.
Prime Minister Scott Moe echoed Dr. Shahab’s remarks that it is okay for people to invite close friends, family or neighbors for something like a barbecue, as long as social detachment is practiced.
“You should always think about who I’ve been in contact with over the past two weeks,” said Moe, noting that these small groups – close friends and loved ones – are the people you’re trying to protect.
Moe himself said he is looking forward to when his family can get together again.
“I have a son I haven’t seen in six weeks,” he said. “I would love to have a barbecue with him and cook a locally grown and processed steak sooner or later, and I think so.”
Restrictions on public meetings will remain limited to 10 for Phase 1 and 2 of the province’s five-phase plan, with restrictions to allow the meeting of 15 people in Phase 3.
As of Thursday afternoon, Saskatchewan had a total of 331 cases, 270 of which were listed as recovered and 57 as active. So far, four people have died as a result of the pandemic.