Saskatoon restaurant owner hopes businesses can rebuild as province works on plan to lift restrictions
SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon restaurant owner says it’s encouraging that the government of Saskatchewan is already looking at plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions.
"We didn't expect to be able to hear words like 'reopening' this early on. I think most of us were thinking June or July was becoming a reality, and maybe it still is, we don't really know,” said Brad Hamm, co-owner of Taste Restaurant Group.
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On Monday, the province announced work is beginning on a plan to slowly lift restrictions and reopen businesses.
Hamm said his restaurants Una pizza + wine, Picaro Cocktails & Tacos, Bar Gusto Italian Kitchen and Cohen’s Beer Republic have been hit hard by the pandemic, like most other businesses.
He said he’s thankful the government is taking the lead on developing a plan.
“We're hoping that the plan can be implemented in such a way that it's staged, everybody stays safe, and we can gradually build our businesses up again,” Hamm said.
Premier Scott Moe said the restrictions will be lifted “cautiously, methodically and gradually.”
No timeline has given for when these changes will be implemented.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, NDP leader Ryan Meili said it’s important to be cautious.
“It would be premature to start telling people that it was time to stop physical distancing. That could reverse those gains if we acted too quickly, if we're over-confident."
Moe said his government could have a “Reopen Saskatchewan” plan ready as early as next week.
However, he and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab are urging continued vigilance.
"Even the socialization that happens at work is a high risk of transmission, so minimizing that even at work, that physical distancing has to maintain, not sharing food items or multiple touch surfaces, attention to hygiene and disinfection of multi-touch surfaces,” Shahab said.
While work may look different, Hamm said he’s looking forward to getting back.
"We're ready, we're excited to get back at it, to open our doors again. But we fully understand that things are not going to just go back to the way they were right away. We understand that there's going to be gradual build, there's going to be some phasing in.”