It may be a blue Christmas without you, as the province is instituting further public health measures as it tries to reduce the high rates of COVID-19 cases.

Effective Thursday, private, indoor gatherings will be limited to immediate household members only. This may drastically impact plans for Christmas dinner and New Years Eve parties.

“We know that much of the community transmission continues to occur in our household settings. This needs to be a different kind of Christmas. This needs to be a very different holiday season for each of us and needs to be a quieter Christmas,” said Premier Scott Moe.

Single people are still allowed to meet in gatherings of five or fewer and co-parenting arrangements are permitted to continue.

As of Saturday Dec. 19, casinos and bingo halls must close. Personal services may operate at 50 per cent capacity, including staff and clients.
Arenas, arts venues, museums, movie and live theatres and banquet facilities are limited to a 30-person capacity.

As of the 25th, retailers will reduce to 50 percent capacity and malls and larger retailers at 25 percent.

“Normally, the Christmas season is a time where we all look forward to a break from our work a chance to for us to slow down and most importantly, a chance for us to visit with some family that maybe we haven’t seen for a while. I know this is going to be different, and it’s going to be very challenging for many of us. But this needs to be a much quieter Christmas,” Moe explained.

“It has been a difficult few weeks and let’s be honest, it’s been a difficult few months. Months of rules, months of guidelines, restrictions, measures and, and reminders from myself from Dr. Shahab as well as others, months of sacrifice by each and every person in this province.”

Monday saw 269 new cases of COVID-19, as well as two additional deaths. Saturday was particularly deadly as 11 people died due to complications, marking the single highest COVID deaths for the province since the beginning of the pandemic. The provincial death toll stands at 91.

There are approximately 4400 active cases, including 408 in the Far North, 1294 in Saskatoon and 1173 in Regina.

All measures in effect from November 27 will carry forward until January 15. This includes restrictions for licensed establishments; sports, fitness and dance; places of worship; and mandatory masking remain in place.