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Social Gatherings and Holidays

Social Gatherings

All of Ontario is in a State of Emergency and Stay-at-Home order. Only leave home for essential purposes and limit close contact (no masks and closer than 2m) to your own household (the people you live with).

  • Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes
  • Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation
  • Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people outside your household

Maintain two metres of physical distancing from everyone outside of your household (who you do not live with).

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).

All indoor social gatherings with other households are prohibited (with limited exceptions for those who live alone to join one consistent household to alleviate feelings of isolation). Outdoor activities for the purposes of exercise and mental well-being are allowed if physical distancing can be maintained. Outdoor gatherings of any size are not permitted, except with the people you live with.

Check out this poster on COVID-19 & Activities.

How do you manage tricky situations while staying COVID-Smart and kind? Setting the stage ahead of time is the best way to avoid awkwardness in the moment. It is best to be upfront and honest about your boundaries and expectations, and there is no need to feel guilty about wanting to stay safe.

You may find it helpful to remind others of who you are trying to protect. Having a family member or close friend whom you are staying safe for may make it more relatable to others. Some people may find humour or deflection helpful in difficult situations. Here are some ideas we came up with to help respond and stay COVID-Smart.

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.”
  • “Excuse me sir/madame, 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:

  • “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 – remember to wear a mask and keep it short. You can reduce your time of exposure by having an excuse to leave after a short time (less than 15 mins).

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.

April Break

It’s crucial that we continue to limit close contact and not travel. Consider virtual activities online and try to spend time outdoors safely during this break. Check out our physical activity page for ideas on how to enjoy nature with all ages. If others are around outdoors – please wear a mask and keep strict 2m of distancing. The new Variants of Concern require shorter times of contact to spread more easily. Some outdoor recreation areas remain open but please respect all signage, wear masks in public and populated places and come back another time if it’s too busy.

For families – check out local links and virtual resources at;


What is a Social Circle?

October 2, 2020 – The Province of Ontario has paused the idea of social circles and advises that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.