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COVID-19 Update: Saskatchewan Business Groups Voice Support for New Restrictions

We want to reach out to you, our membership, to provide you with some more information on COVID-19.


Please see the below article from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix:


Saskatchewan business groups voice support for new restrictions


New measures will restrict patrons at large retail outlets, and limit four to a table with more spacing in restaurants and bars.


Even though there was no indication a second widespread shutdown was coming, Jim Bence was still greatly relieved to hear the proposed new restrictions for Saskatchewan.


Bence, the president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association, said he was happy to hear restaurants and bars will be allowed to continue to operate with new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


The measures will further hinder an industry that is already reeling, with a new limit of four people to a restaurant table and new requirements for space between tables. They must be spaced two metres apart if there are “impermeable” barriers between them, and three metres apart with no barriers.


“I’d not been getting any signals that they were going to go down that (shutdown) path, but you just never know,” Bence said in an interview. “The pressure has just been full on, just tremendous.”


Bence said restaurant capacity already dropped to 40 per cent to 50 per cent at some locations after the province introduced mandatory masks at indoor public spaces this month.


Even with the previous limit of six to a table, rising COVID-19 cases had dampened people’s enthusiasm for going out to eat or drink, he added. Active cases in Saskatchewan rose to a new high of 3,012 on Wednesday.


“It’s really rough out there right now,” Bence said. “It’s challenging because this is the busiest time of year for many of these operators.”


The new restrictions for restaurants and bars that take effect on Friday will likely force many of them to operate at a maximum capacity of 50 per cent, he said.


The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce all voiced support for the measures, despite the hardship expected.


“Saskatchewan’s business community will no doubt feel the effects of further restrictions, but it is important to remember these restrictions are a short-term adjustment to prevent a more severe long-term lockdown, which would result in devastating and lasting impacts on our society,” the Saskatchewan chamber said in a statement.


The new rules also reduce to 30 the number of people allowed to gather indoors in venues ranging from movie theatres to bingo halls and banquet facilities.


Retail stores larger than 20,000 square feet will be required to operate at 50 per cent capacity, determined by the fire code limit, or four square metres of space per person, whichever is less.


For reference, the Cabela’s stores in Regina and Saskatoon are about 50,000 sq. ft.


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