Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says people who know of anyone not self-isolating after returning from international travel can now call police.
Moe announced sweeping new restrictions Friday aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. He said the public health recommendation to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning from international travel is now mandatory.
“This doesn’t mean that you go to the grocery store or go to the drug store or go fill up with gas and then you go home and self-isolate. This means you go home. And you stay home now,” he said at a news conference.
“If you don’t do this, you’re now breaking the law.”
Those who refuse to follow the order could face up to a $2,000 fine or arrest, Moe said, adding that he believes that most people will comply.
Almost all of Saskatchewan’s 26 COVID-19 cases are related to foreign-travel, which is why it’s essential those returning self-isolate, he said. Six new cases were revealed Friday.
Health Minister Jim Reiter said he’s heard anecdotal stories of people who have not self-isolated.
“It’s concerning,” he said. “We need people to recognize how serious this is and we think this should grab their attention.”
Saskatchewan is also offering some relief for people who can’t work because they are self-isolating.
Moe said people who have to stay at home and aren’t covered by sick leave, private insurance or federal employment insurance will get $450 per week for a maximum of two weeks.
A ban on large gatherings will no longer allow more than 25 people in one room, except where two-metre social distancing can be maintained. Bars and restaurants will also be closing for everything by takeout effective Monday.
The government plans to open daycare spaces in schools for children of front-line health workers responding to COVID-19.
Priority is to be given to parents of school-aged children who work in hospitals, testing sites, primary care areas and labs.
Other essential staff like firefighters and police, as well as social services employees who provide income assistance and child protection, are also eligible.
“We felt that it was important to ensure that there was child care for our emergency workers,” Education Minister Gord Wyant said Friday, adding that more than 2,300 spots have been made available.
The school daycares will be properly sanitized, he said.
“We want to minimize the risk as much as possible,” said Wyant.
“There certainly is some additional space in the schools now that there’s no children there. So there’ll be lots of opportunity to further distance kids from each other to maintain the smallest groups that they possibly can.”