indoor gatherings ontario

Ontario is strongly warning people to limit indoor holiday gatherings

The Ontario government responded to a concerning spike in COVID-19 cases on Friday afternoon, announcing over 1,450 new infections — the highest infection rate in over six months — and resulting changes in both reopening plans and vaccine passport rules.

As infections and hospitalizations rise, the province is sending out a stern warning about the newly-emerged Omicron variant in advance of the coming holiday season. And for anyone who heeds the warnings of health experts, it might be time to think about eliminating some table settings at your upcoming holiday get-together.

A provincial statement issued on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore on Friday afternoon, urges everyone in the province — particularly the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated — to rethink their holiday plans.

Due to the rising case counts, the statement "strongly" advises Ontarians to "limit their social gatherings and the number of gatherings they attend, especially over the holiday season."

The statement also recommends attendees "should also wear a face covering and physically distance if individuals in attendance are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown."

So you're probably fine with just one can of cranberry sauce this year, because it looks like the in-laws are uninvited.

Many, at least in downtown Toronto, are still working remotely, though the province is now advising employers to roll back return-to-work plans, suggesting that employees be allowed to "work from home whenever possible."

Most people aren't going to be pleased with all of these new rules, regulations, and warnings just over two weeks shy of Christmas. But everyone who can't stand those awkward office shindigs is breathing a sigh of relief today, spared from another uncomfortable social obligation by a pandemic that just won't quit.

The alarming warning comes "as global data on the Omicron variant continues to evolve," and the province prepares to expand booster eligibility to all adults 18 and older.

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