On June 30, 2020 the government of Saskatchewan released an updated version of Re-Open Saskatchewan (the "Plan"), the five-phase plan to slowly and responsibly lift restrictions on business and services.
A general overview of the Plan can be found in our blog here.
The guidelines and release dates of phase four facilities are being updated by the provincial government on a continuous basis. With the most recent update, these facilities and their respective allowable opening dates have been released:
- July 6, 2020:
- Indoor sports and activities;
- Indoor rinks;
- Indoor pools; and
- Performing Arts.
- July 9, 2020:
- Casinos; and
- Bingo halls.
In addition to these facilities being authorized to open the province has updated the guidelines for: restaurants and licensed establishments, elevator use, group fitness classes and golf tee times.
All businesses and activities that are set to reopen on their respective dates are required to adhere to guidelines that are generally applicable to all businesses. An overview of those guidelines can be found in our blog here. We note that the most recent provincial health order expressly requires that events, activities, and outdoor spaces are required to adhere to relevant guidelines in the Plan.
As of the date of publication, indoor private and public gatherings of over 30 people are prohibited, and outdoor private and public gatherings over 30 people are prohibited except in the following circumstances where two-metre distancing between people can be maintained:
- settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings, and workplaces; and
- are a critical public service or an allowable business service.
In addition to following general guidelines, businesses and activities that are set to reopen as part of phase four are required to follow specific guidelines as outlined below.
Further, we also note that there is an added civil law risk that arises from a business inviting members of the public onto its property when that business has not followed required guidelines under the Plan. These issues should be carefully considered by business owners when considering their reopening plans. In this regard, please see our previous blog on Occupiers' Liability During COVID-19.
Indoor Sports and Activities
The Plan provides guidelines for the general operation of indoor sports facilities including indoor rinks. Additionally, the Plan provides specific guidelines for these facilities regarding:
- Competition and game play;
- Participant health and illness;
- Physical distancing; and
The Plan provides guidelines for the general operation of indoor pools. Additionally, the Plan provides specific guidelines for these facilities regarding:
- Facility operators;
- Lifeguarding and supervision;
- Diving boards, slides, play structures, toys and flotation aids;
- Change rooms;
- Seating areas;
- Classes, swimming lessons and training;
- Splash pads, fill and drain paddling pools; and
- Food services.
The Plan provides guidelines for the general participation in performing arts activities. Additionally, the Plan provides specific guidelines regarding the following activities:
- Choir and group vocals;
- Orchestras and bands;
- Theatre; and
Casinos and Bingo Halls
The Plan provides high-level practices for operators of casinos and bingo halls, including specific considerations for employees and sanitization. Casinos are also expected to operate under the COVID-19 re-opening plans created by the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority or SaskGaming.
Other Updates Effective July 6, 2020:
- Restaurants and licensed establishments are permitted to maintain an occupancy level that allows staff and customers to maintain appropriate physical distancing. These guidelines apply to indoor and outdoor seating areas.
- Elevators should contain no more than four people spaced two metres apart (or as far apart as possible, in each corner).
- Group fitness classes that involve intense aerobic or physical training (e.g. aerobics, Zumba, spin) can be offered if three metres of physical distancing can be maintained at all times.
- Group fitness classes that involve lower intensity activity (e.g. yoga, pilates) can be offered if two metres of physical distancing can be maintained at all times.
- Golf tee times must be a minimum of 10 minutes apart to avoid congestion on the course.
As outlined above, the Plan contains detailed requirements for businesses that are set to open under phase four on July 6 and 9, 2020. Racetracks and rodeo related facilities are set to open on the targeted date of July 16, 2020. Guidelines for those facilities are still being developed.
The MLT Aikins occupational health and safety and labour and employment team will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates on legal issues that may impact employers. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team if you require assistance in ensuring your organization is prepared to reopen, and particularly if you are unsure as to how your business can satisfy its workplace safety and legal obligations under the Plan.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.