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Gatherings and Social Circles

As part of the emergency order, you are not permitted to gather in groups of more than 10 people. Social Circles are a way to have close contact with another household.

What is a Social Gathering?

At a glance:

  • Getting together in groups of a total of 10 people or less is ok
  • Can be any group of up to 10 people
  • Maintain a 2 metre distance with anyone outside of your ‘social circle’
  • Outside gatherings are preferred
  • Continue to practice all other public health measures:
    • Stay home if sick, practice good hand hygiene, cover your cough or sneeze, wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, and clean & disinfect commonly touched surfaces.

On June 12, the limit on social gatherings was increased from 5 people to 10 people. Social gatherings can be any 10 people; it can be yourself plus 9 people outside of your social circle, or a combination of people within your social circle and those outside of it. The key is that it is a total of 10 people. Physical distancing of at least two metres should be maintained with those outside of your social circle. This expansion of social gatherings enables individuals and families to enjoy the company of others at backyard barbeques and picnics in neighbourhood parks, while respecting physical distancing advice.

What is a Social Circle?

At a glance:

  • 10 people or less
  • Close contact is allowed (e.g. hugging)
  • Must always be the same people
  • You can belong to only one circle
  • Continue frequent hand hygiene and cover your cough or sneeze
  • Sick individuals should immediately limit contact with their circle and seek testing if they have COVID-19 symptoms

On June 12, the Province announced that people of Ontario can expand their household “bubbles” and establish a “social circle” of no more than 10 people. This recommendation was made to support mental health and well-being and to reduce social isolation. These 10 people or less can come into close contact with each other without having to practice physical distancing measures. By restricting close contact to only one circle, this will facilitate rapid contact tracing in the event of a case of COVID-19.

To form a safe social circle these steps should be followed:

  • Start with the people you live with or who regularly come into your household. Large households may not be able to add additional people to their circle, as it would exceed ten people.
  • If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including another household, family members or friends.
  • Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle and no other one.
  • Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle.
  • Be true to your social circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.

A few additional considerations:

  • Individuals at higher risk may wish to not participate in a family or social circle, limit the size of their circle, or limit the amount of interaction with their circle.
  • If social circles pose a challenge, or not everyone in the circle can commit to being in only one circle, then sticking to social gatherings may be a better option.