Private gatherings in Saskatchewan now limited to immediate family members

New public health measures are now in force in Saskatchewan.

Private gatherings in homes are restricted to immediate family members as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

People living on their own are allowed to meet with one, consistent household of fewer than five individuals.

Read more: Coronavirus — Holiday restrictions in Saskatchewan met with disappointment, understanding

Co-parenting arrangements can continue and caregivers, support personnel and tradespeople are permitted in a residence.

Premier Scott Moe said Monday in announcing the new measures that they are needed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We know that much of the community transmission continues to occur in our household settings,” Moe said during a briefing.

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“We need to stabilize our case numbers even further. We need to protect the capacity that we have in our health-care system, and we need to protect our communities and our families most vulnerable.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Saskatchewan premier calls asking families to limit holiday gatherings a ‘bitter pill’' Coronavirus: Saskatchewan premier calls asking families to limit holiday gatherings a ‘bitter pill’

Coronavirus: Saskatchewan premier calls asking families to limit holiday gatherings a ‘bitter pill’

All private and outdoor gatherings are also prohibited under the new measures.

Groups of 10 or less, however, are allowed to briefly meet outside to exchange greetings if physical distancing between households can be maintained.

“This needs to be a very different holiday season for each of us. It needs to be a quieter Christmas,” Moe said.

“Let’s keep the finish line in our sights. If we all work together, we will be able to manage the challenges of COVID-19 over the course of the next number of weeks.”

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All current health measures, including mandatory masking in public places and the suspension of visits to long-term care homes except for compassionate reasons, remain in place.

Read more: 1st doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Saskatchewan given to health-care workers

Other measures come into force later in the month.

On Dec. 19, casinos and bingo halls must close and personal care services must reduce customer occupancy by 50 per cent.

Then on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, retail services must reduce their capacity by 50 per cent.

Retail outlets with over 20,000 square feet must reduce their capacity to 25 per cent.

The public health orders remain in place until at least Jan. 15, 2021.

At that time, health officials will review the orders and determine if they should be eased, extended or expanded.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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