Border towns frustrated as provinces reopen at different speeds

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Despite more than 15,000 new injections, the goal of reopening Saskatchewan to 70% of adults with their first dose still remains elusive.

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With the Prairie provinces removing COVID-19 restrictions at different speeds, some border towns are finding themselves with frustrated residents.

In Flin Flon, which sits on the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, Mayor Cal Huntley said navigating the COVID-19 restrictions was difficult.

The majority of residents and businesses are located in Manitoba and must adhere to Manitoba guidelines, but those on the Saskatchewan side follow Saskatchewan guidelines.

“The border is not our friend,” Huntley said. “Right now you can go to a restaurant in Saskatchewan and you can’t sit at a restaurant in Flin Flon, Manitoba because they are closed, which is a problem. The town of Creighton is less than two kilometers from Flin Flon, entirely on the Saskatchewan side, and follows that province’s guidelines.

Saskatchewan is set to enter Stage 2 of its plan to reopen on Sunday and aim to reach Stage 3 by July 11, removing virtually all restrictions, including mandatory masking.

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Manitoba, on the other hand, only recently announced its plan to reopen, which does not ease any restrictions until July 1. The province hopes to remove the vast majority of its restrictions by early September – a full eight weeks after Saskatchewan.

“It’s just hard to deal with frustrated people who see Manitoba’s 4-3-2-1 opening plan lagging behind Saskatchewan’s opening plan,” said Huntley.

“Their patience is running out. I encourage everyone in my area to be patient and caring. We will get by. “

Across the province is Lloydminster, which is split in two by the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. But Glenn Alford, the city’s senior director of public safety, said all of Lloydminster falls under Saskatchewan’s public health jurisdiction, as the city’s single charter dictates. This means that all residents of Lloydminster, even those on the Alberta side, must adhere to Saskatchewan guidelines.

While this creates more consistency for city leaders and local businesses, it doesn’t stop residents from jealously eyeing their faster neighbor to the west.

Alberta has already entered Stage 2 of its reopening and aims to remove the last of its restrictions by late June or early July, about two weeks ahead of Saskatchewan.

“I’m sure it might be a little frustrating for people to see our neighbors just to the west… have different rules,” Alford said, but he noted that most of the residents played well by playing by the rules. from Saskatchewan.

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“The vast majority of people have understood, and still do, and are working towards this goal of hopefully reopening in July. “

Saskatchewan distributed another 15,402 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, but the province’s Stage 3 reopening benchmark – 70% of all adults with a first dose – still remains elusive.

Of the new doses, 12,404 were second doses, bringing the number of people fully vaccinated in the province to 239,760, or just over 23% of all eligible residents aged 12 and over.

That leaves just 2,998 doses given as first injections, as Saskatchewan remains stuck at 1% of the 70% needed to reach Stage 3, which would see most of the restrictions lifted. The final reopening step will be delayed until three weeks after the vaccination goal is reached.

Sixty-eight percent of people aged 12 and older have their first shot, approaching the 70 percent target required for the mask’s mandate to be lifted by July 11.

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Anyone 45 years of age and over – or anyone who received their first injection before May 1 – is now eligible for their second dose, as are all adults living in the northern Saskatchewan administrative district.

Saskatchewan also reported 94 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. The additional 70 recoveries were not quite enough to balance the new cases, so active cases edged up to 752.

No new deaths were reported, but one death was removed from the tally.

“One person in the 80+ age group in Regina, previously listed as fatal, is now listed as resolved,” the province said in a press release. That drops the number of deaths from the pandemic in the province to 561.

There are currently 87 people hospitalized, nine of whom are in intensive care.

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  1. In La Loche, vaccinators went door to door to vaccinate residents.

    Vaccinators go door to door to speed up vaccination in northern Saskatchewan

  2. Drive-thru vaccination clinics will soon provide a fast-track route for those who need a first dose.

    Sask. unveils new strategy to boost first-dose vaccines

  3. Crowds will be invited to Mosaic Stadium again in August, but how many will show up?

    Moe expects crowds to fill Mosaic Stadium for first home games

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