'If you're unwell, don't go': Sask. top doc urges caution ahead of concert that could attract more than 13,500
Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer suggests people planning on attending Saturday's Eric Church concert in Saskatoon should "do their own risk assessment."
"If you're immunocompromised, even if you are fully vaccinated, this may not be the time for you to go to an indoor setting," Dr. Saqib Shahab said during a COVID-19 teleconference on Friday.
"If you're unwell, don't go to that concert. Stay home, get tested," Shahab said.
The concert planned for Saturday is expected to draw more than 13,500 people to SaskTel Centre, according to the venue's executive director.
Proof of full vaccination or a fresh negative COVID-19 test result will be required to attend. Because the event is being held indoors, masks are also required under the current provincial mandate. Masks can be removed or lowered when eating or drinking.
"Do these three layers provide enough protection to prevent super-spreader events? We think it does," Shahab said.
"We have to learn how to use these tools in a safe manner."
On Thursday, Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili expressed concern about the event and said it should potentially be called off.
"I got a call a few days ago from someone whose surgery has been cancelled. And what she had to say about the upcoming concert was it blew her mind that we are cancelling people's surgeries, a surgery that for her is not elective is absolutely necessary, but we're still having these huge public gatherings," Meili said during a press conference in Saskatoon.
"Everybody wants to go enjoy concerts, everybody wants to have some fun, but it's not a lot of fun if you end up in the ICU as a result," Meili said.
In an interview with CTV News on Friday, SaskTel Centre executive director Scott Ford said work is underway to make the concert, the largest of its kind to be held since the onset of the pandemic in Saskatoon, as safe as possible.
“We're following all the public health orders. Eric Church is pro-vaccination, all of his personnel, his entire tour, they all have proof of vaccination," Ford said.
According to Ford, the venue has been selling more than 100 tickets a day.
"All of the staff that are working, concession staff, stagehand, security, ushers, ticket takers, all have their proof of vaccination."
Beginning Thursday afternoon, SaskTel Centre started pre-screening Church fans who are attending the concert.
Either proof of vaccination must or a negative PCR test result from a test taken after 6 p.m. Wednesday must be provided.
People who complete the pre-screening process are given a tamper-proof wristband. Ahead of the concert, SaskTel Centre is also offering testing on-site at cost ranging between $25 and $30.
Fans under 12 are exempt from the screening.