thanksgiving 2021

Ontario to announce new rules how to safely spend Thanksgiving and Halloween

With two major holidays known for getting together with friends and family coming up in the next few weeks, Ontario residents may be wondering what the current limits are for private indoor gatherings, and how they can celebrate safely amid the fourth wave of COVID-19 and the beginning of cold and flu season.

Apparently, the provincial government is indeed planning on releasing a formal list of rules for how to partake in Thanksgiving dinners and Halloween parties this season, as well as for activities such as trick-or-treating.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said in a press conference on Tuesday that official recommendations will be coming from Premier Doug Ford's leadership later this week, but also provided the gist of what they will say.

"In a nutshell, if you're having family over and you're completely vaccinated, if you feel comfortable removing your masks, that would be absolutely appropriate in a fully vaccinated group," he said.

"If it's a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals outdoors, you may consider keeping masks on and certainly if you go indoors, I would suggest you keep your mask on in a combination of groups, particularly if you're vulnerable to this virus."

Moore also highly suggested measures like screening everyone in attendance for COVID-19 symptoms, and perhaps getting tested in advance to be sure.

Furthermore, Moore outlined the caps for social gatherings under Step 3 of reopening (which yes, we are still in effect after nearly long 12 weeks, and may continue to be for some time): 100 people outdoors, and 25 indoors, which he referred to as "reasonable and safe numbers."

"Every long weekend like this, especially Thanksgiving where it's a social event where we have families getting together, we want to minimize the spread," he continued. "But we also want families to embrace the opportunity to get back together for thier mental, physical and social well-being."

This time last year, as we will all recall, get-togethers were limited to 25 people outdoors and only 10 inside, last call at bars and restaurants was 11 p.m., and people were advised not to hold Thanksgiving dinners or to take their kids trick-or-treating on Halloween.

The full list of recommendations for 2021, which will thankfully be more lenient, will be announced in a presser and also made available on the province's website on Thursday.

Lead photo by

Priscilla Du Preez

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