COVID-19: City of Saskatoon considering limited gatherings bylaw

WATCH: Council voted in favour of asking City of Saskatoon staff to look into the feasibility of putting gathering limits in place as a bylaw.

Councillors voted 8-3 on Monday in favour of asking the City of Saskatoon administration to look into the feasibility of putting gathering limits in place as a bylaw.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) medical health officer for the region, Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, made a presentation to city council.

She recommended a 28-day enforcement of measures that look similar to step one of the provincial government’s reopening roadmap.

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University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine commended the city for what it’s considering.

“Throughout this pandemic, I think what leadership does at a provincial level or city level is set the conditions within which people are able to stay safe … then people have to do what is needed,” he said.

“(Between) the individual need and the collective good, there is a tension, he said, and this is where enforcement comes in.

“This bylaw cannot happen soon enough because we have Halloween coming up at the end of this week. The proposal to have no more than two households vaccinated gather together with children and enjoy this second Halloween during a pandemic makes a lot of sense … I hope that this will happen quickly rather than eventually.”

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The SHA medical health officer’s recommendations noted gathering limits at places of worship as well as venues that didn’t require proof of vaccine or a negative test for entry. The potential bylaw could be voted on late this week or early next week.

Last month, the city asked the provincial government to reestablish public health measures. The request was rejected.

According to the provincial government’s dashboard on Monday, Saskatchewan had 293 COVID-19 patients in hospital and the death toll remained at 817.

The province’s active infections decreased, now sitting at 2,822. The Saskatoon zone leads the province with 683.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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