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Social Gatherings and Holidays

Social Gatherings

Enjoy connecting again with friends and extended family particularly outdoors and in small groups. As of July 16, Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen allows outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people and indoor gatherings of up to 25 people. You should still only be having close contact with those in your own household though, so keep 2m apart from others when outdoors. These measures are in effect even if you have been vaccinated.

Wear a face covering indoors; outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained; or if wearing one is required.

  • SSelf-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Consider getting tested.
  • MMask/face covering on when in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge outdoors.
  • A – Avoid touching your face.
  • R – Remain 2 metres/6 feet apart from people you do not live with.
  • T – Twenty (20) seconds for regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette (cough or sneeze into a tissue or your arm).

Check out this poster on COVID-19 & Activities.

Considerations for managing your risk in public and social situations:

  • Always check for symptoms, and, if you have any, isolate and get tested (even if vaccinated).
  • If you are in a public place wear a mask and distance. Protection from the Delta variant really requires two doses for proper protection and is now the predominant strain that is in Ontario. Not everyone has had two doses of the vaccine and there is no way to know when you are in a public place who may be vulnerable or infected.
  • Social gatherings (follow gathering limits)
    • Things to Consider:
      • Your personal risk and the risk of people you will be spending time with (have they been vaccinated? is everyone symptom free? Do they have health conditions or take medications that could affect their immune system? Does their age/health condition put them at higher risk of serious effects from COVID, or make them less likely to have a good immune response from the vaccine?)
      • The setting where you will be gathering (e.g. indoor or outdoor, good ventilation, lots of space between people). Outdoor activities are less risky than indoor activities.
      • Activities you are engaging in. Is there more risk of close contact, or droplet spread in these activities?
      • Be mindful of community spread of COVID-19 and the presence of the Delta variant in the community, local COVID-19 surveillance data and if people are traveling from an area where there are a lot of cases/outbreaks.
  • It’s important to re-assess your risk level and comfort level as this situation changes .
  • Things are not the same for everyone, everywhere so make the decision that is right for you, and treat others with kindness

If someone you know isn’t wearing a mask or is not keeping 2m of distance:

  • “I am trying my best to stay safe during this time, if we aren’t both wearing a mask then I do not feel comfortable coming within 2m.”
  • “Hey friend, that is not 2m/6ft, Scooch back a bit, a little more, little more…there we go”
  • “I’m not expecting you to put on a Hazmat Suit – but at least pop on your mask while we talk.”
  • “Hey dude! You forgot your pants – I mean mask”
  • Make it about them. “I feel like I have some exposure because I work outside the home and I want to be sure you are protected – so I’ll stand back here to protect you.”

If you are invited to a gathering or event and don’t feel comfortable attending:

  • “Sorry, I can’t, I need be careful for ______________”
  • “I can’t be sure that everyone will wear masks and be able to remain 2m apart, so it feels too risky for me.”
  • “I already feel like I have some risk because of my job – so I’m trying to reduce it in all the other ways I can.”
  • “I try to limit my times I leave the house to once a week and I have already done so this week – can we connect over video or phone instead?”
  • “Great idea – but let’s do it post-pandemic!”
  • “I’d love to, but indoor gatherings are just too risky right now.”

If chatting with friends or acquaintances in person you can reduce your risk by reducing your time of exposure and having an excuse to leave after a short time (less than 15 minutes).

Remember that we have control over our own behaviour. If someone is around you and not wearing a mask, you can move back to protect yourself.