OTTAWA, Canada — Canada’s Saskatchewan province announced Tuesday the lifting of all Covid restrictions including wearing of masks and proof of vaccination for indoor dining — as truckers continued occupying Ottawa with similar demands.
Alberta was expected to soon follow suit — despite some pushback from doctors and nurses — while Quebec announced it would move up the loosening of restrictions.
Most of the Saskatchewan measures introduced in September, when the Delta variant of Covid-19 was spreading across Canada, will end at midnight on Sunday.
Indoor masking requirements and quarantines for anyone who tests positive, however, will remain in place until the end of the month.
“This policy has run its course,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe told a news conference.
The premier noted that more than 80 percent of Saskatchewan residents had received two Covid vaccine jabs, and about half got a booster — similar to data for the country as a whole — and that it was now time to treat Covid as endemic.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has proposed a phased removal of pandemic restrictions in his province. He is to provide details this week.
Meanwhile Quebec Premier Francois Legault signaled on Tuesday the lifting of Covid measures in his jurisdiction by mid-March.
“We will need to learn to live with the virus. There may be a sixth wave eventually, but we will have to live with Covid,” Legault said, pointing to falling Covid hospitalizations.
Moe, who contracted Covid last month, has endorsed a convoy of truckers that converged on Ottawa to call for an end to vaccine mandates for travel between Canada and the United States.
Vaccine mandates for travelers are set by the federal government, but most other Covid measures are the responsibility of provincial authorities.
“It’s time,” he’d said in a video address last week for Canadians to regain their freedom and to be “getting your life back to normal.”