Staying safe during the holiday season

The holidays are going to look a little different this year due to COVID-19.
The province is providing preliminary guidance on how to safely celebrate this year and protect your loved ones.

“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,” Premier Doug Ford said. “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.”

No matter where you live in the province, the safest way to spend the holidays this year is by only celebrating in person with the people you live with and celebrating virtually with everyone else. If you live alone, consider exclusively celebrating with one additional household as a safe way to spend the holidays.

While public health measures to keep Ontarians safe may be different in communities across the province, most importantly, you need to remember that virtual holiday gatherings are the best option, but outdoor activities should be the choice for any in-person gatherings.

A new holiday web page will be launched shortly to provide more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season.

“The holidays are a special time of the year for many people, and while we all want to spend time with family and friends, we must celebrate safely to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “With the recent news about several vaccines there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I realize that it won’t be easy, but we must continue to follow public health advice and look for new and creative ways to celebrate this year.”

It is important for everyone to adhere to the public health measures in their communities, especially when connecting with others. All Ontarians are strongly recommended to continue doing the following:

  • Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild;
  • Avoid social gatherings and limit close contacts to your household or the people you live with;
  • Maintain two metres of physical distancing from everyone else;
  • Adhere to the restrictions in your region on public and private gatherings;
  • Wear a face covering indoors and wear one outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained or if wearing one is required;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly;
  • Cover your cough;
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you’ve been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert mobile app;
  • Individuals and families from higher transmission regions should avoid travel to lower transmission regions (e.g., from Red level to Orange level), except for essential reasons; and
  • Download the COVID Alert mobile app.

“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. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “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.”

Ontarians are advised to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in their community, and check with their public health unit for any additional information or restrictions. Advice may also vary by the level a public health unit is in, which can change depending on public health trends in the region as the holiday season approaches.

 

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