This is how health officials recommend Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving
Like many things in 2020, Thanksgiving will be a lot different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and health officials in Canada are speaking up.
As the holiday approaches, health officials across the country are making their recommendations for how Canadians can safely celebrate including limiting gatherings or hosting virtual gatherings.
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam took to Twitter to suggest that people who want to get together but who are not in the same bubble set up gatherings that have enough space to properly social distance. If this is not possible, Tam says to hold virtual gatherings.
2/3 Gatherings indoors will be safest if small and select (#DownsizeYourBubble as/where possible), especially in areas of Canada where #COVID19 infection rates are highest.— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) October 4, 2020
Besides this, she also encouraged people not to share food or objects but to "bring your own" instead.
3/3 Gatherings outdoors that involve people outside your #ContactBubble need to be well spaced to be COVID-safe. Too close is too close, even if outdoors! Best not to share food or objects, “Bring-Your-Own” + #PhysicalDistancing.— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) October 4, 2020
Tam said that these guidelines are especially important for provinces where infection rates are the highest such as Quebec and Ontario.
"As we head into a new week, with Thanksgiving weekend close, we’ve got some serious planning to do," she said in a statement.
Provincial health authorities gave similar warnings. In Manitoba, health officials say that you should limit your gathering to household members only and plan for outdoor events.
If you're planning a gathering with a few more people, though, they recommend keeping a guest list for about 21 days in case someone is exposed to COVID-19 and to refrain from sharing utensils, condiments, or other objects.
Provincial health officer for British Columbia Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a press conference that it is important to protect our older family members during this time.
"Giving thanks is incredibly important and this year, as much as any year, when we've all come through this. But we need to do it in ways that are safe, particularly for our older family members" she said.
As a result, Henry reiterated the importance of gathering only with the family members that you live with.
As case numbers rose significantly in Ontario last week, Minister of Health Christine Elliot, asked everyone in the province to limit their contact to people in their households only.
We all have a role to play to stop the spread. We are advising that all Ontarians limit close contact to people living in their own household and maintain 2 metres of physical distance from everyone else. https://t.co/JgU6YGWk6w https://t.co/hy40yngs4C— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) October 2, 2020
Last week, after raising alert levels in certain areas, Quebec's minister of health, Christian Dubé, asked people to cancel Thanksgiving altogether.
All of this comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a comment about Thanksgiving in an address to the nation on Sept. 23.
"It's all too likely we won't be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas," he said.
Canada's number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 166,000.
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