June 12, 2020
The Province has announced that as of today, people of Ontario can expand their household “bubbles” and establish a “social circle” of no more than 10 people. These 10 people can come into close contact with each other without having to practice physical distancing measures. It’s a chance to reconnect with loved ones; something many of us have been craving.
“Social circles will support the mental health and well-being of people in our communities and help reduce social isolation,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health. “However, it is important that we make a contract to only be in close contact with those in our circle to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.” Restricting close contact to one circle of 10 people will help keep the number of contacts low in the event a member of the “circle” becomes infected with COVID-19. If anyone in the social circle develops COVID-19 all members of the social circle will be required to self-isolate and get tested.
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.
It is important to clarify that these “social circles” are different than social gatherings. Visits with non-circle people would be considered a social gathering and must use the same rules as before including being outside, keeping a physical distancing of at least 2 metres/6 feet, staying home if sick, practicing good hand hygiene, covering your cough or sneeze, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces.
The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.
For media interviews, contact: Susan Healey, Communications Co-ordinator, 613-802-0550 or [email protected].