SASKATOON/REGINA- Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and Health Critic Vicki Mowat were joined by Deputy Leader Nicole Sarauer to call for a targeted, short-term circuit breaker for Regina and area as Scott Moe’s COVID-19 failures have caused a catastrophe, one year since the outbreak of the pandemic.
“Because of this Premier we are in the absurd position where bars and restaurants are open while schools close because school divisions have been forced to act as the government sits on its hands,” said Meili. “Families are looking for leadership that has not come from this government. The worst threat to business is Scott Moe’s complete failure of leadership in getting this pandemic under control. He saw the modelling, he knew this was happening, and he chose to relax restrictions instead of protecting Saskatchewan people. His gamble on the vaccine being the only answer is a gamble with people’s lives and livelihoods."
Meili noted that Premier Moe has had several opportunities to get control of the COVID-19 virus in Saskatchewan but has failed to act. As a result, Saskatchewan has led the country in new COVID-19 cases for most of 2021 and has seen very high death rates - while losing 23,000 jobs and falling behind BC, Manitoba and Quebec in terms of unemployment. Moreover, the government acted to reduce public health measures even though the SHA warned against those moves with modelling that predicted higher case counts.
New Democrats are calling for an evidence-based, targeted, short-term circuit breaker in Regina and area, including:
- Reducing household bubbles to pre-March 9th levels
- Continuing to target vaccination to Regina and area
- Moving bars and restaurants to delivery and take-out only
- Moving as many workers as possible to “work from home” arrangements, particularly in the civil service and Crown sectors
- Staffing up contact tracing and supports for those off work to isolate
- Advising strongly against any non-essential travel to and from Regina
- Providing supports for school kids needing access to technology and child care for essential workers
- Supporting local businesses to access federal wage and rent subsidies and provincial investment to fill gaps
- Quickly expanding these measures to other communities should there be evidence of variant spread elsewhere
“Because of the Sask. Party’s inaction, we must now call for what we all hoped could be avoided: a targeted, short-term circuit-breaker in Regina and area,” said Mowat. “It is the only way to get case numbers down and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed while vaccines are deployed. We must also keep a close eye on conditions in the rest of our province. Regina is not an island and it is very possible the variants will begin to spread more quickly and soon.”