Holidays, Family Gatherings and Celebrations

Get-togethers with family and friends are important to celebrate holidays and mark birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. During COVID-19, take steps to protect your loved ones and prevent the spread of the virus.

NOTE: With the rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario, make an informed choice about attending family gatherings and celebrations. Currently, virtual gatherings/events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with family and friends outside your household. The fewer people you come in contact with or have at a gathering, the lower your risk of COVID-19 transmission.

FURTHER NOTE: Ontario has put a pause on social circles (or bubbles) due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province. As a result, you should only be in close contact with people within your own immediate household. Maintain two metres (6 feet) physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). Please ensure you follow this new requirement. Failure to do so could lead to fines for the event host and people attending the function. The new size limits DO not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. 

On This Page
General Tips
  • Stay home if sick. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 assessment tool to help determine if you need further care.
  • Think twice about visiting areas of Ontario with high COVID-19 transmission rates. Instead, connect by phone, social media or video-conferencing. You can also consider using platforms to hold a virtual party/celebration.  
  • Avoid hugs, kisses, handshakes and other gestures with those outside your household. Instead, wave and greet others verbally. While it may be difficult, this can protect your loved ones, especially older adults and people with compromised immune systems who are more at risk from COVID-19 complications.
  • Limit the size of family/private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). Please ensure you follow this requirement, as failing to do so could lead to fines for the event host and guests attending the function.
  • Practise physical distancing as much as possible. Keep a 2 metre (6-foot) distance from anyone who is outside your household.
  • Wear a mask if inside where physical distancing is a challenge.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after attending a gathering.
  • Check ahead with the host to see what COVID-19 preventive measures are in place.
  • Before attending an event or gathering, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer recommends asking yourself these sets of questions to determine if you should go:
    • Are you at high risk of developing serious complications if you become infected with COVID-19 OR if you have to self-isolate, would this seriously disrupt your upcoming plans, priorities and responsibilities?
    • Are there people at high risk of developing serious complications of COVID-19 in your household that you could unintentionally infect?
    • Has the host made changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (such as spacing chairs, encouraging physical distancing and having guests who are visiting and not part of your household wear masks)?
    • Are you able to adjust your plans at the event (such as stepping away if it gets crowded, wearing a mask and washing your hands)?
Hosting a Gathering/Party
  • With COVID-19 cases rising in Ontario, give serious consideration to putting parties/gatherings on hold and celebrate only with those in your immediate household. Instead, consider virtual gatherings with your extended family and friends.
  • Be aware of the size limits on private parties/gatherings. No more than 10 people are allowed at indoor parties/gatherings, while 25 is the maximum amount of guests at outdoor functions. You could face a stiff fine for hosting a party that breaks the size gathering limits.
  • Remind guests to stay home if sick. Consider keeping a list of guests who attend for potential future COVID-19 contact tracing needs.
  • When entertaining, allow for physical distancing for your guests. Allow people to safely maintain a 2 metre (6 foot) distance, especially if they are outside your household.
  • Be upfront with your guests about the COVID-19 prevention measures you’re taking so they know what to expect before they arrive.
  • When possible, host your gathering outdoors. In colder weather months, go indoors but try to ensure the room or space is well-ventilated (e.g. open a window).
  • Arrange tables and chairs in advance to allow for physical distancing (if already set up, guests may be reluctant to move them).
  • People from the same household can be grouped/seated together, but should be 2 metres (6 feet) apart from other families.
  • When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact between those outside households.
  • Encourage guests to wear masks when physical distancing is difficult. Consider providing masks for guests or ask them to bring their own.
  • Ensure there is enough soap and hand sanitizer for people to use during the gathering.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Limit the number of people handling or serving food (including limiting access to where food is being prepared, such as the kitchen).
  • Avoid buffet-style meals. If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils
  • Limit contact with high-touch surfaces or shared items. If possible, clean and disinfect these surfaces and shared items between uses.
  • If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g. seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event.

Travellers and COVID-19

Travelling Abroad

If you have travelled abroad, you MUST immediately self-isolate/quarantine and stay home for 14 days. This is due to the Canadian government putting in place an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act.

These quarantine measures apply to all travellers arriving in Canada and is aimed at slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. The only exceptions are essential workers, including those who ensure the continue flow of goods and essential services across the border.

Please Note:

Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

Travellers Arriving in Canada
as of April 14, 2020
With Symptoms 
Without Symptoms 
MANDATORY Isolation MANDATORY Quarantine/Self-Isolation
Go directly to the place where you will isolate, without delay, and stay there for 14 daysYesYes
You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while traveling to the place you will isolate/quarantineYesYes
Go to your place of isolation using private transportation only, such as your personal vehicle. You cannot arrange a pickup/ride with another personYes
Do NOT go outsideYes
Do not leave your place of isolation unless it is to seek medical attentionYesYes
Do not go to school, work, other public areasYesYes
Do not use public transportation such as buses and taxisYes**
Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home, if possibleYes
Do not have visitorsYesYes
Limit contact with others in the place of isolation, including childrenYesYes
Do not isolate in a place where you will have contact with vulnerable people, such as older adults age 65+ and individuals with underlying medical conditionsYesYes
If your symptoms get worse, immediately
contact your health care provider or public health authority and follow their instructions
Arrange to have someone pick up essentials like groceries or medication for youYesYes
Keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from othersYesYes
Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh airYes
Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19Yes

** If no symptoms: You can only take public transportation to get to your place of self-isolation after you arrive in Canada, but must wear an appropriate non-medical mask or face covering while in transit. You must not stop on the way home, and practise physical (social) distancing at all times.

If you have symptoms but do not have a place to isolate, you will be required to isolate for 14 days in a facility designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

If you develop symptoms within 14 days:

  • Isolate yourself from others
  • Immediately call a health care professional or public health authority and:
    • describe your symptoms and travel history
    • follow their instructions carefully
  • Please note: The 14-day quarantine period restarts from the time you develop COVID-19 symptoms OR you are exposed to another returning traveller covered under this Order who has COVID-19 symptoms

If you do not develop symptoms after 14 days OR if you no longer have a fever and your symptoms are improved:

  • You can stop isolating, but for your protection, stay home except for essential trips (like groceries or medication)
  • You MUST practise physical distancing measures when in public
  • Continue with frequent handwashing and avoid touching your face

If you are still unwell after 14 days, contact Telehealth Ontario or your health care provider for further direction.

Travelling in Canada

Travelling Between Provinces

During the pandemic, some parts of Canada have placed limits on travel between provinces. This includes the requirement that some people arriving must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are planning an out-of-province trip, check first with the destination you are headed to see if any travel restrictions are in place that could affect your trip.

Federal Rules 
  • Temperature screenings are now required for any passengers arriving or flying out of Canadian airports. This applies to international and domestic flights.
  • As of April 20, new measures mean all air passengers travelling in Canada must wear a non-medical mask or face covering over their mouth and nose during travel.  
  • When travelling domestically by ferry, rail or bus, travellers are strongly encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings whenever possible. They may need to use a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose when they cannot maintain physical distance from others. 

Public Notice

made pursuant to Section 22 (5.0.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act

Date: April 14, 2020

TO:      All persons residing in or present in Haliburton County, City of Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County who:

(a) are identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19;

(b) have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of their test;

(c) otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they have symptoms of COVID-19; or

(d) are a close contact of a person identified in (a), (b) or (c).

I, Dr. A. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit), order you to take the following actions, effective 12:00 pm (noon) on April 14, 2020:

  1. Isolate yourself without delay in accordance with instructions provided by the HKPR District Health Unit. This includes remaining in your home or isolation facility. Do not go outside, unless on to a private balcony or enclosed yard where you can avoid close contact with others. You must not have any visitors into your home except as permitted by HKPR District Health Unit.
  2. Remain in isolation until the expiry of a 14-day period that begins on the day on which you first show symptoms, are tested, or are diagnosed with COVID-19, whichever is earliest, or on the last day of close contact, unless otherwise instructed by HKPR District Health Unit in accordance with the current Ministry of Health guidelines as amended:
  3. During the self-isolation period, conduct yourself in such a manner as not to expose another person to infection or potential infection from COVID-19 by following infection control instructions on the HKPR District Health Unit website, located at: or given to you by the HKPR District Health Unit or any other staff of a healthcare facility to which you may seek or receive treatment.
  4. Keep away from vulnerable persons. Follow any further instructions provided by the HKPR District Health Unit pertaining to COVID- 19 and the terms and conditions of this Order. In particular, you should seek clinical assessment over the phone – either by calling your primary care provider’s office or Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000. If you need additional assessment, your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario will direct you to in-person care options.
  5. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g. difficulty breathing) by calling 911 and telling them of your COVID-19 related diagnosis or symptoms.
  6. The requirements of this Order are subject to necessary modifications for the following persons or class of persons:
    1. a person or class of persons who, in the opinion of the Medical Officer of Health is asymptomatic and provides an essential service, for the limited purpose of providing that essential service;
    2. a person receiving essential medical services or treatments, whether or not related to COVID-19; or
    3. where a person’s isolation, in the opinion of the HKPR District Health Unit, would not be in the public interest.

THE REASONS for this ORDER are that:

  1. COVID-19 has been designated as communicable under Ontario Regulation 135/18 as amended.  COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The Province of Ontario, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County have declared emergencies under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as a result of the pandemic.
  2. COVID-19 is now present in Haliburton County, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County and therefore poses a risk to the health of the residents through community transmission. The COVID-19 virus is spread from an infected person to a close contact by direct contact or when respiratory secretions from the infected person enter the eyes, nose or mouth of another person.
  3. To contain the spread of COVID-19, individuals experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who are infected with COVID-19, as well as their close contacts, are required to isolate themselves from other people until they are no longer infectious or potentially infectious. Isolation ensures that these people will not spread their infection to others.

I am of the opinion, on reasonable and probable grounds that:

(a) a communicable disease exists or may exist or there is an immediate risk of an outbreak of a communicable disease in the health unit served by me;

(b) the communicable disease presents a risk to the health of persons in the health unit served by me; and

(c) the requirements specified in this Order are necessary in order to decrease or eliminate the risk to health presented by the communicable disease.

am also of the opinion that the delivery of notice of this Order to each and every member of the class is likely to cause a delay that could significantly increase the risk to the health of any person residing in the HKPR District Health Unit area, so notice shall be provided through the public media and the internet via posting on HKPR District Health Unit’s website:

The following definitions apply to this Order:

“close contact” means you are caring for or living in the same household with someone who has COVID-19 or have otherwise been identified as a close contact by the HKPR District Health Unit.

“Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit” or “HKPR District Health Unit” means the Medical Officer of Health or HKPR District Health Unit staff acting under the direction of the Medical Officer of Health.

“vulnerable person” includes a person who (i) has an underlying medical condition; (ii) has a compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment; (iii) is 65 years of age or older; or (iv) is reliant upon a homeless shelter or other congregate living setting.


TAKE NOTICE THAT each member of the class is entitled to a hearing by the Health Services Appeal and Review Board if the member has delivered to me, at the address below, and to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board (HSARB), by e-mail to or faxed to the HSARB at 416-327-8524., notice in writing, requesting a hearing within 15 days after publication of this Order or otherwise in accordance with applicable law.

AND TAKE FURTHER NOTICE THAT although a hearing may be requested this Order takes effect when it is delivered to a member of the class or brought to the attention of a member of the class.

FAILURE to comply with this Order is an offence for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000.00 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

A. Lynn Noseworthy, MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
200 Rose Glen Road
Port Hope, Ontario L1A 3V6

This Order shall be posted on the HKPR District Health Unit website:

Inquiries about this Order should be directed to the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5020

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