January 11, 2022 Message to the Membership

Posted on January 11, 2022 in

January 11, 2022 Message to the Membership

I’m usually pretty quick to jump all over City Council in this space when they make some head-scratching decisions, so I’ll give them credit where it’s due this week. When I first heard that a special Council meeting was being held Monday to discuss this fifth wave, otherwise known as omicron, I thought, ‘Uh oh.’ We’re in for some either/or of frustration or entertainment.  

Like the time(s) when they tried to supersede the powers of the provincial government and declare their own health orders, or my particular favourite, when they removed the hockey nets from all the outdoor rinks. Still gives me a chuckle when I think about it. There are several other examples, but let’s remember this is about giving credit. 

So, instead of going down a predictable pattern of torching toupees and blazing up-dos, they instead looked at the data related to omicron and chose to keep their service levels status quo. Whaaaat? My hair blew back.  

Granted, they’re keeping their staff at home for another two months until April (which makes sense at this point), but they’re keeping all of their service levels the same, which means the leisure centres, buses, City Hall, libraries, garbage collection, etc. are running in business-as-usual fashion. Well, as usual as it gets under the pandemic anyway. 

Thankfully, they heard that omicron, while very contagious, is not as severe as the other variants. They also heard that the case numbers will spike in unprecedented fashion here in our province, but it will be relatively short-lived; a matter of a few weeks. Following that, there will be a drastic drop-off in cases. 

This is what’s been occurring in other jurisdictions around the world, and while we like to think of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan as special, there’s no reason to believe that our experience here would be anything different. By mid-February, after we’ve been inundated with screams for more restrictions, more lock-downs, more public health measures, blah, blah blah, (it does get to be just white noise after a while, doesn’t it?) we will start to see the light at the end of this tunnel. 

Getting there, however, will take some creative and responsive foresight though. For instance, every one of us should have a contingency plan in place for our workplaces. Chances are, there will be unprecedented absenteeism over this time. Hopefully, you can either have your staff work from home, do split shifts, or find some other creative way to enable your business to continue to operate.  

Rapid tests are readily available from our friends at the Chamber offices, TCU Place, as well as various Co-op locations and the libraries. Test yourself. Already eight million test kits have been distributed in Saskatchewan, with another eight million expected to be available soon. 

Point being, if every Saskatchewan resident were to use one daily (which of course is a stretch), there are enough kits in the province to do everyone for two straight weeks. Use them. Don’t let them collect dust, saving them for a rainy day. It’s time to think of them as umbrellas, because it’s raining omicron, soon to be a downpour. 

Another ‘nice’ thing about omicron is that it seems to come and go in a matter of days. Hence, the 5-day isolation period for vaccinated individuals. Actually, they’ve found that four days is the typical cycle, but they’ve added another day as a buffer to be safe.  

So if you’re among those wondering why it has become so shortened, it’s because it’s sufficient. Furthermore, this shortened window is enabling businesses to function just a little bit better and parents to manage their children being at home for a shorter period of time (again, provided they’re vaccinated). 

So, long story short, plan for interruptions with a contingency plan, utilize rapid test kits, and well done City Council. Keep on keepin’ on and we’ll all get through this together. 

Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well, but most of all, be kind. 

Keith Moen, 

Executive Director 



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