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Reaction spreads across Saskatchewan as premier announces public health orders will soon end

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced on Tuesday that public health orders will be coming to an end in the province.

Moe said on Feb. 8, 2022, that the requirement to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for businesses, workplaces and other public venues will end on Feb. 14.

The public health order requiring the use of facemasks in indoor public spaces will remain in place until the end of February.

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“Proof of vaccination has been an effective policy, but its effectiveness has run its course,” Moe said. “The benefits no longer outweigh the costs. It’s time to heal the divisions over vaccination in our families, in our communities and in our province.

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“It’s time for proof of vaccination requirements to end.”

The Saskatchewan opposition leader said he said he doesn’t know if this is the right move at this time by the province.

“Scott Moe is not giving us the modelling. He’s not giving us regular updates on the data. We are not able to honestly say whether that’s the right policy,” said Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili.

“Simply put, he’s not giving us the ability to know the truth of whether this is the right decision right now.”

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) echoed Meili’s comments and is pleading with the province to reconsider terminating COVID-19 health mandates and protocols in Saskatchewan because it puts First Nations communities at greater risk.

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“Our First Nations communities have been working around the clock to ensure the health and safety of our communities and schools,” stated FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron.

“Reducing and eliminating COVID health protocols will only put our most vulnerable at risk all over again. We are not prepared to put the lives of our families at risk.”

Chief Cameron stated that although the province announced the end of the public health orders, several tribal councils, which numerous Indigenous bands fall under, will continue to follow all safety measures and COVID protocols until the pandemic is over.

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“It’s inevitable that there will be a surge in positive COVID-19 cases in our communities and it is unfortunate that the province is straying from the course to mitigate the impact of the highly contagious COVID variants,” stated Yorkton Tribal Council (YTC) Chief Isabel O’Soup.

“Our First Nations communities and organizations will continue to be diligent and implement our strategies for risk management and mitigation of this virus.”

There are six Indigenous communities that are represented under YTC’s leadership. The First Nations under the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC), Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC), and the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) will continue following public health orders.

— with files from Dave Giles

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan to release plan on lifting COVID-19 restrictions'

Saskatchewan to release plan on lifting COVID-19 restrictions

Saskatchewan to release plan on lifting COVID-19 restrictions

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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