Ontario’s top doctor releases guidelines for Thanksgiving, Halloween



Dr. Kieran Moore says celebrating indoors and unmasked with a fully vaccinated group is “absolutely appropriate”

Ontario’s gathering limits of 100 outdoors and 25 indoors are still in place

Province’s average of daily new COVID-19 cases has generally been declining since early September

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has released his guidelines for safely celebrating Thanksgiving and Halloween.

For the Thanksgiving weekend ahead, Moore said it is safe to have a gathering with people you don’t live with, as long as you keep within the gathering limits of 25 indoors and 100 outdoors and follow all public health measures.

He also said if all the people attending the event are vaccinated, it is safe to remove face coverings.

Here are some of the other health measures he recommends if you are hosting an in-person gathering:

  • clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces;
  • ask guests not to attend if they have symptoms, even if they are mild;
  • make a list of guests attending in case your local public health unit needs it for contact tracing;
  • have the fewest number of people possible at your gathering;
  • use outdoor spaces whenever possible

Moore says if there is a combination of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in the group, attendees may consider keeping masks on indoors, particularly for older people or those with chronic medical conditions.

For Halloween, Dr. Moore recommends kids trick-or-treat outside as much as possible, be creative in including a face covering in your costume and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms.

Some other recommendations if you plan on giving out treats include:

  • Keep interactions with trick-or-treaters short and encourage them to move along after receiving their treat from you;
  • Consider wearing a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained;
  • Consider including the face covering as part of your costume if you are dressing up;
  • Give out only purchased and packaged treats;
  • Do not ask trick-or-treaters to sing or shout for their treats;
  • Clean your hands often throughout the evening using soap and water or with hand sanitizer.

Last year, Ontario recommended that kids in the four COVID-19 hot spots, which were Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York Regions at the time, should not go trick-or-treating.

For Remembrance Day, if you are attending a memorial event, do not attend if you are experiencing symptoms and wear a mask if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

More details on celebrating all three events over the next month can be found on the Ontario website.

Ontario’s average of daily new COVID-19 cases — at 576 — has generally been declining since early September, while last year at this time it was a bit higher, but on the rise.

Moore noted today a number of recent outbreaks have been associated with weddings, and he notes that next week proof of vaccination will be required to attend weddings and funerals in meeting and event spaces.

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