City of Saskatoon releases draft of bylaw restricting gatherings to prevent COVID-19 spread

·2 min read
The City of Saskatoon has released a draft bylaw aimed at limiting gathering sizes to slow down the spread of COVID-19. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The City of Saskatoon has released a draft bylaw aimed at limiting gathering sizes to slow down the spread of COVID-19. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The City of Saskatoon has released the text of a proposed bylaw that would limit gathering sizes to battle the spread of COVID-19.

The bylaw would prohibit private gatherings for unvaccinated or partly vaccinated people outside of their own household.

It would also reduce gathering sizes for weddings, funerals and churches to 25 per cent of the building's capacity (or a maximum of 150 people for churches) if the event is not requiring proof of vaccination.

Finally, vaccinated people would only be able to socialize with one other fully vaccinated household, to a maximum of ten people.

The bylaw said first-time offenders would be fined at least $250, and at least $750 for a third or subsequent offence, to a maximum of $10,000.

A special council meeting has been set to vote on the bylaw on Friday.

Council voted in favour of writing the bylaw earlier this week. Proponents said the bylaw was necessary to slow down the spread of new cases of COVID-19 in the city.

Opponents called the bylaw an overreach, and noted that public health orders are the jurisdiction of the provincial government.

The idea to write the bylaw came after council wrote a letter to the provincial government asking for more gathering restrictions for the City of Saskatoon, but was refused.

During an earlier meeting, Mayor Charlie Clark said the bylaw was meant as a 28-day time-limited intervention meant to stabilize cases in the city.

The bylaw does not affect restaurants, event centres or workout facilities, as they were included in the current provincial health order.

A report from administration said a private security company would need to be hired to enforce the bylaw, at a cost of roughly $32,000 per month.

The report said anyone who wanted to make a complaint would call the city's Service Saskatoon number or make a complaint on the website.

If approved, the bylaw would come into effect the day it was signed into law.

Councillors said the bylaw was written after taking advice from provincial medical health officers, who said that COVID-19 seems to be spreading fastest in households.

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