Column: The dawn of a new day for Saskatchewan

Time has passed and Saskatchewan continues to see impressive numbers on the COVID-19 front. With these positive numbers, the province released their new plan to reopen Saskatchewan in the coming weeks and months.

This is exciting. It gives many a glimmer of hope. It will be interesting to see, given we don’t see another outbreak, what life is like when an entire province has been through the same struggle collectively.

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Although everyone who has been through this pandemic in Saskatchewan has dealt with a varying degree of difficulty, being able to look to your neighbour, knowing they were there with you, could be a sobering and comforting feeling.

Mutual understanding on a level this large is hard to fathom when for the most part, as individuals, our journeys are completely different. It is easy to get caught up in our own ways until something shifts the world as we know it overnight.

We separate not only with personal views like who the best CFL team is, but also with politics and whatever else you can imagine. This pandemic made people throw everything to the wayside, although opinions are a dime a dozen, and just deal with it.

This province saw the severity of what was headed our way and took it in stride. Collectively, residents did what was necessary and what was promoted by the government.

As chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said in a press conference regarding the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, we aren’t finished with COVID-19 yet. But there are more reasons to be optimistic than pessimistic for the first time in a while.

Moe and company introduced a five-phase plan to reopen Saskatchewan, which is slated to start on May 4.

Phase one will include previously restricted medical services, and the opening of golf courses, parks and campgrounds. Medical services previously restricted and boat launches will be reopened on May 4 while golf courses will open May 15. Parks and campgrounds will reopen June 1.

Phase two includes reopening retail businesses and select personal services that include hairdressers, massage therapists and acupuncturists starting May 19.

Phase three, which has a date to be determined, will include services such as gyms and fitness facilities, child care facilities, tattoo artists, estheticians, cosmetologists and other personal service facilities.

The third phase will also start to reopen restaurant and food services at 50 per cent capacity. This phase will also include raising the size of public gatherings from 10 to 15 people.

The fourth phase which also has a to be determined date, includes reopening indoor and outdoor recreation and entertainment facilities along with increasing the size of public and private gatherings to 30 people.

The fifth phase with the date to be determined, includes considering lifting some long-term restrictions.

With the province’s plan set in place, it will be interesting to see how it pans out. The framework is, as Moe has said previous times, cautious in its approach.

Saskatchewan is the first province to release this sort of plan in the nation and hopefully, we set the proper example. Hopefully, the opposite doesn’t happen and our government are the ones who jumped too quick and have to deal with a second wave of the virus that has already killed four Saskatchewan residents.

Moe has said after the first few phases are implemented, the province will adjust accordingly depending on if there are anymore outbreaks. He has also said the people of Saskatchewan will have to adjust to a new normal. One we are getting more familiar with every day.

It would be such a badge of honour for the people of Saskatchewan if the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan works. A province built on people who work hard to provide. The people of Saskatchewan do not deserve to be left at home without work, not being able to make ends meet.

Hopefully, this plan gets people back to work and helps the economy patch up the horrible damages it has amassed in such a short time.

There are many things to still be worried about when it comes to COVID-19 in this nation. As a reporter, focusing on the positives and putting a positive light on the plan put forth by the province is important.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country’s cause.”

Let’s hope this is a new day for Saskatchewan. Let’s hope we can look back at the day we reopened the province and say we did the right thing at the right time, and not the opposite.






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