This Version Posted: June 15, 2020
Getting together with family, friends and other to celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions is common. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, it’s not business as usual and large gatherings can do more harm than good.
Currently, everyone must follow Ontario’s order that forbids large gatherings of people. As of June 12, social gatherings are limited to more than 10 people. Also as of June 12, places of worship are being allowed to reopen, but with strict restrictions.
Being limited to seeing loved ones during birthday, holiday or other special event is difficult. Keeping up your emotional and mental well-being is important during these difficult times, and support is available to help.
What You Can Do
- Take advantage of technology. Hold a virtual party using an online platform. You can see and hear each other… and even sing a celebratory song!
- Send a gift to someone celebrating a special milestone, or order a take-out meal from a local restaurant that can be delivered to their doorstep.
- Connect with loved ones, friends, and vulnerable members of the community online or by phone. This can help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.
- If you are a place of worship, consider these ideas to connect with your members too.
- If you plan a special meal for someone in your household, and need to get groceries for it, consider the following:
- Shop only one day per week and buy only what you need for up to two weeks
- Respect store hours dedicated to seniors, vulnerable persons, and essential service workers (normally the first hour stores are open)
- Have a list of items, shop efficiently, and do not casually browse
- Do not touch food or products you’re not intending to buy
- If possible, pay with a card or phone tap rather than cash
- Get into the spirit of the birthday, holiday or other special event. Instead of gift-giving, donate to a local food bank or help a neighbour who cannot get out (like an older adult) with grocery shopping or yardwork
- Be aware that more people are now allowed to attend wedding or funeral services. For indoor ceremonies, the number of people allowed to attend a funeral or wedding can now be a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue. Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice. The number of people allowed to attend receptions afterwards remains at a maximum of 10 people. Please plan accordingly if you are attending any of these functions.
- Avoid non-essential travel, including for holidays. Such travel to and from Canada is currently banned. Anyone who does enter the country, including Canadians returning from travel, is required by law to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether they have symptoms of COVID-19.