With the holiday season fast approaching, the Ontario government just released its official guidelines for celebrating the holidays this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic and cases head in the wrong direction province-wide.
While hopes have been high that family & friends will be able to safely gather for Christmas this year, the pandemic’s ongoing impact is forcing the festivities to look a little different this year.
One of the largest adjustments being pushed by the provincial government, regardless of region, is to keep celebrations simple and limit them to those in your immediate household.
“I know there are many people looking forward to their traditional family celebrations at this time of year, but to keep your loved ones safe, traditions will have to be adjusted,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“We’re asking everyone to please stick to your own household when celebrating. Avoid big holiday parties or large family dinners to help us stop the spread of this deadly virus. By following this public health advice, we can all have a safe and fun holiday season.”
The province’s list of safe recommended activities favour events that are outdoors, virtual, or shared exclusively with those already in your household. Suggestions include building a snowman outside, baking, and decorating with the people you live with, while avoiding large social gatherings; especially those where masks and social distancing can’t be observed at all times.
The holidays are a special time of the year. While we all want to spend time with family and friends, we must celebrate safely to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Everyone has a role to play in flattening the curve. Let's have a healthy holiday season and keep our loved ones safe. pic.twitter.com/YQnuKjNq7w
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) November 26, 2020
As usual, of course, the normal COVID-19 protocols still apply: Ontarians should stay home as much as possible through the holidays except for essential reasons, wear a mask and socially distance in public spaces, wash their hands frequently, and stay home if they feel unwell.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Minister of Health, stresses that – while Ontarians certainly want to spend the holidays with their loved ones – safety must come first while the pandemic is still very much active across the province.
“We understand the traditional importance of visiting family and gathering during the holiday season, but as we are continuing to live in unprecedented times, we need to look at new ways of celebrating and marking special occasions,” said Dr. Williams.
“Everyone has a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and by strictly following these measures we can all plan for a healthy holiday season while keeping our loved ones safe.”
Read the full list of guidelines on the Ontario website.