Here we are again – the summer is over, the nights are cooler, kids are back in school and the season for celebrations and family gatherings is upon us. While many COVID-19 restrictions regarding gatherings have been lifted and vaccines have been more widely distributed, public health officials in Canada are still urging residents to take precautions during the upcoming Thanksgiving long weekend.
According to a recent CBC News report, because of last year’s spike in COVID-19 cases following Thanksgiving, Ottawa residents are encouraged to use caution and limit large indoor gatherings. Because children under 12 and some other vulnerable populations aren’t able to receive a vaccine, it’s important to protect these individuals and hold the current rate of cases steady.
The news isn’t all bad though, and there is reason to be cautiously optimistic as we head into the fall and winter months. In Ontario, which has moved into Step 3 of reopening, indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people and outdoor to 100 people. As the weather forces people indoors more, they should continue to limit those they are in close contact with, keep any gatherings small and wear masks when social distancing is not possible.
Alberta enacted new temporary measures beginning September 16 to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 after declaring a state of a public health emergency. Indoor social gatherings are limited to a single household plus one other household to a maximum of 10 vaccine-eligible vaccinated people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people with 2-meter physical distancing at all times.
By continuing to use precautions, it is hoped that businesses and schools will continue to remain open and further lockdowns can be avoided. Using caution will also help prevent serious illness and death and avoid overwhelming health care systems. Stay informed on updates and changes to public health actions by checking with your local health department. While the weather is still fair, consider taking the family for a hike or getting together outdoors for a smaller Thanksgiving luncheon.