Ontario releases official guidelines for celebrating holidays amid the pandemic
Festive parties are distinctly out of fashion this holiday season as COVID-19 circulates in Ontario and Toronto remains under lockdown.
In fact, as far as public health officials are concerned, you shouldn't be celebrating anything with anybody outside of your own household for the rest of this year (and who knows how long after that?)
"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 Premier Ford on Wednesday as his government put forward recommendations for the forthcoming holiday season.
"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."
The one exception to this rule applies to people who live alone: Such Ontario residents can "consider exclusively celebrating with one additional household as a safe way to spend the holidays."
Everyone else is encouraged to do something virtual with their loved ones and friends for obvious reasons.
No matter where you live in Ontario, the safest way to spend the #holidays this year is by only celebrating in-person with those you live with & virtually with everyone else. If you live alone, consider exclusively celebrating with 1 additional household. https://t.co/dcGwiadkyy pic.twitter.com/vduzeQXzqe— Ontario Ministry of Health (@ONThealth) November 25, 2020
According to the provincial government, a "new holiday web page" will soon be launched to provide Ontarians with direct, up-to-date guidance on celebrating the holidays as circumstances change.
As of right now, though, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams has put forth a list of "safer holiday activites" and "riskier holiday activities" for people to consider while planning for the season ahead.
They are as follows:
NEW: Ontario's COVID-19 recommendations for holidays: "Virtual celebrations are the safest option."🎄💻🌟— Dr. Jennifer Kwan (@jkwan_md) November 25, 2020
Celebrate only w/ your own household, or if you live alone to celebrate w/ 1 other household. Support local small businesses for Christmas shopping. #COVID19Ontario #onpoli pic.twitter.com/YJCsWem4UL
The preliminary guidelines also note that "individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid going to lower transmission areas, except for essential reasons."
People are also asked to keep in mind that, regardless of the above reccomendations, they "must adhere to public health and workplace safety measures and rules" in their particular region.
"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," said Health Minister Elliott of the new guidelines.
"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."
All Ontarians are urged to continue taking the following measures every day to combat the spread of the coronavirus:
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