Saskatchewan residents disappointed with holiday gathering guidelines

Holiday gathering are going to be restricted again in Saskatchewan. Photo by Yegi Zargar

Olivia Gagne had to cancel her holiday plans again due to the recent COVID-19 variant concerns and new gathering guidelines issued by the provincial government.

“I have a really big family and last year we couldn’t gather so we were planning to get together this year, but everyone is limited to small gatherings again,” said Gagne, a long-time resident of Regina. “Everybody is just tired and exhausted from hearing new guidelines every day.”

The government of Saskatchewan listed the new holiday gathering guidelines in a news release on Nov. 30.

Based on the release residents are advised to keep private indoor gatherings small and to “consider the vaccination status of potential guests as well as the risk for friends and family who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Residents are also encouraged to “wear a mask and have physical distance among people from multiple households.”

Unlike Gagne others believe it is best to follow the guidelines and cancel big holiday gatherings.

“I’m not just thinking about me and my own pleasure, I have to think about the community as a whole,” said Zara Darzi, a Regina resident.

Darzi is known among her family and friends as the person who brings everyone together for celebrations, especially Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“I was just craving to invite 40 people to my house for New Year’s Eve, but I don’t think that is going to happen anymore because we have restrictions,” said Darzi. “I have trust and respect for Saskatchewan health care decisions since they have a broader view of the COVID-19 status, better medical knowledge and accurate statistics than me as a resident.”

Although Saskatchewan is not enforcing limits on how many people can attend private indoor gatherings, most Saskatchewan residents are expressing concern and anger with the holiday guidelines.

“The pandemic has been going on for two years now and it can get very lonely living in a small town without family around,” said Pakdel, who lives in Watrous.

Although not happy with the new guidelines, Pakdel’s family believe they have no other choice but not to gather this holiday season.

Most residents however, are not willing to cancel or change their holiday plans. They have decided to express their frustrations by Tweeting online or commenting under Facebook news posts about the gathering guidelines.

“I will continue to live my life fear free! And who I have in my home is my business,” said Cheryl Ivany in a Facebook comment.

Many Canadians will be facing holiday guidelines and perhaps reduced gatherings. Some provinces have no restrictions on gatherings while others are heavily limited.

The government of Saskatchewan has stated the guidelines are not final and the restrictions could still be lifted or strengthened depending on what happens with the new Omicron variant.

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