Ontarians were told by Premier Doug Ford today that no matter where you live in the province - be it in the 'green' zone or the 'red' zone, the safest way to spend the holidays is by celebrating only with those living inside your home.
The province recommends celebrating virtually with everyone else.
The province has deemed the following activities as 'safer':
- Virtual holiday gatherings or events with family, friends or co-workers
- Outdoor holiday activities such as building a snowman or going on a sleigh ride with members of your household
- Visiting Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus or their elves outdoors and taking photos while keeping two metres apart
- Attending a drive-in or drive-through event
- Watching holiday or other movies with your household
- Decorating your doors and putting up lights around your home
- Lighting your menorah
- Baking holiday treats with your immediate household
- Donating to your favourite holiday charity or toy drive
The province has deemed the following activities as 'riskier':
- In-person holiday gatherings or events, particularly gatherings where masks or face coverings must be removed to eat or drink
- Hosting or attending social gatherings or organized public events that do not adhere to provincial or local requirements. See below for information about the gathering limits that apply in the various zones
- Indoor holiday activities such as having overnight guests or sleepovers with friends or people outside your household
- Visiting family and friends for non-essential reasons. Individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid going to lower transmission areas, except for essential reasons.
- Visiting Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus or their elves indoors and taking photos without being two metres apart. Children are not permitted to sit on Santa's lap this year.
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.
All Ontarians are strongly recommended to continue doing the following:
- Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild;
- Avoid social gatherings and limit close contacts to your household or the people you live with;
- Maintain two metres of physical distancing from everyone else;
- Adhere to the restrictions in your region on public and private gatherings;
- Wear a face covering indoors and wear one outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained or if wearing one is required;
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly;
- Cover your cough;
- Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you've been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert mobile app;
- Individuals and families from higher transmission regions should avoid travel to lower transmission regions (e.g., from Red level to Orange level), except for essential reasons; and
- Download the COVID Alert mobile app.
Premier Doug Ford is slated to reveal COVID-19 guidelines for the holiday season at 1 p.m.
Ford will be joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, to make the announcement.
Village Media will carry the livestream, so stay tuned.