Ontario Provides Public Health Advice on How to Protect You and Your Loved Ones
TORONTO — The holidays are going to look a little different this year due to COVID-19. To support Ontarians as they begin to safely plan for the season, the Ontario government, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and input from the Public Health Measures Table, is providing preliminary guidance on how to safely celebrate this year and protect your loved ones.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
“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. “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.
The Official Opposition states that this isn’t good enough
NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof released the following statement in response to the government’s plan to forbid gatherings in all parts of the province over the holiday season:
“It’s heartbreaking to think about everyone who will be separated from their loved ones during the holidays. It should never have come to this.
Doug Ford lied when he said lax restrictions, delayed action, and easing public health protections were all based on public health advice. Now, thanks to Ford’s choices, we are forced into more shutdowns in more parts of the province, with more people getting sick and many losing their lives.
This holiday could have been different if Ford had acted sooner, and in the best interests of public safety.”
While public health measures to keep Ontarians safe may be different in communities across the province, the following is some general advice to consider when planning your holiday season:
While the above is recommended advice from public health officials, please remember you must adhere to public health and workplace safety measures and rules in your region.
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,” said Minister Elliott. “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:
“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.”
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.
Social Gathering Limits by Level under the Regulations
Note that capacity limits for religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services are different from the above. Refer to O. Reg. 82/20, O. Reg. 263/20, and O. Reg. 364/20.
If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“Reopening Ontario Act”), they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the Act.