NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the Saskatchewan government to learn from the experience of other jurisdictions and act rapidly to enact further health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to urgently put the supports in place to allow workers and businesses to weather the necessary closures.
“Speed is of the essence. What we do today will make all the difference in how quickly we recover,” said Meili. “That’s why we’re urging the Saskatchewan government to take further measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to bring forward immediate supports for workers and small businesses to allow as many people as possible to stay home.”
Specifically, Meili called on the province to enact the following public health measures as rapidly as possible:
- Expand testing as rapidly as supplies permit, including to those who have the symptoms but have not travelled recently or been exposed to known cases;
- Suspend all child care centres, not only those in schools, and suspend any non-urgent dental care;
- Provide clear direction to businesses, Crowns and organizations to limit non-essential operations and gatherings, and urge these entities to implement work-from-home arrangements wherever possible.
To ensure that people and businesses can weather the financial stresses of layoffs and closures, Meili also called on the province to move quickly to put needed supports in place, including:
- Grants to small businesses to help them deal with reduced cash flows;
- A moratorium on residential evictions related to COVID-19 and a plan to assist renters and commercial tenants;
- Direct payments to middle and low-income families.
“We are now several days into this crisis situation, but we’ve yet to see a single dollar committed or delivered from the province to help people and businesses in need. Saskatchewan families and businesses needed this help yesterday,” said Meili.