In light of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the region and across the province, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is reminding residents to keep public health measures in mind as they celebrate Thanksgiving this coming long weekend.
The health unit is strongly recommending that residents celebrate Thanksgiving only with individuals from their household. It is also recommending that residents avoid travelling outside of our area and that they avoid hosting people from other areas as well.
“I recognize that Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and friends, but celebrating the holiday as we usually do could result in an alarming spike in cases,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “I recommend people connect with loved ones from outside their household in different ways this year.”
Safe alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving gathering
While Thanksgiving should be celebrated differently this year, it doesn’t mean it’s cancelled! If you have a family member who lives alone, they may join your household for the celebrations. That being said, if any family members over 70 years old or individuals with underlying medical conditions attend the gathering, everyone should take precautions to protect them, such as wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing. In cases where these measures cannot be put in place, vulnerable individuals should attend the gathering virtually.
Here are some ways to celebrate the holiday with family and friends while staying safe:
- Physically gather with members of your household, but “host” others virtually using video chat services
- If you’re hosting family and friends from outside your household, organize an outdoor gathering
- Always maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, wear a face covering, and wash your hands often
- Do not share food or drinks buffet-style
- Do not host a gathering if you’re sick, are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19
- Ensure anyone who takes part in your gathering does not have COVID-19 symptoms and has not been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19