With reports that more anti-racism gatherings are planned in Saskatchewan to protest the death of George Floyd, those participants are finding the protests are running up against COVID-19 restrictions on gathering sizes.
Premier Scott Moe and Dr. Saqib Shahab were asked during their daily COVID-19 update if a news release sent out the previous day, which warned of the risk of infection by attending large gatherings such as protests, had sent out a message discouraging people from attending protests and exercising their rights to protest.
Premier Moe responded saying “I do have concerns about large gatherings regardless of the cause.”
Moe said from a health care perspective “this virus and how it spreads does not recognize the cause of the large gathering.“
He noted many people in the province had foregone large events, “some at large personal expense.” Moe pointed to memorial services, worship services, wedding and community celebrations “that have been foregone.”
“I would just ask people in the decisions they make each and every day, where they go, what they attend, to use very, very good judgement, to respect the public health orders that are in place, to abide by physical distancing measures that are in place. Because quite frankly, from a health care perspective, this virus does not distinguish why you are in or at the event that you are at.”
Dr. Shahab added that from his perspective “anything that can be done remotely or virtually is better than anything that can be done in person. I think that basic recommendation will remain as long as there is a pandemic in the world, and that is not going to end until we can enter Phase 5 which by my estimation will not happen before June 2021. So this is a marathon.“
As for events outdoors, two meters of distancing was a minimum and staying further apart was “critical.” He also advised against handing things back and forth, chanting or singing.