How to celebrate safely

You must follow all public health and workplace safety measures, including when you celebrate religious or seasonal holidays.

Informal social gatherings continue to be a source of covid 19 transmission and outbreaks. Reducing our contacts is critical to stopping the spread and keeping ourselves, and our friends, family, neighbours and communities safe.

We must be cautious. Omicron will not take a holiday.

As a reminder:

  • get vaccinated with your first, second or booster dose as soon as possible
  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to help protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from the spread of covid 19
  • stay home if you feel unwell, even if your symptoms are mild
  • if you choose to gather, you must follow social gathering limits (no more than five people indoors and 10 outdoors)
  • minimize the number of gatherings you attend, wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask and physically distance when:
    • indoors with multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown
    • with individuals who are immunocompromised 
  • consider wearing a tight-fitting face covering or mask and physically distance when you are outdoors
  • anyone who is required to isolate cannot attend
  • wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer regularly, especially after opening gifts or before preparing, serving and eating food
  • cover your cough
  • support your friends and family, especially those who are vulnerable
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An adult wrapping presents

Hosting indoor and outdoor social gatherings

Indoor social gatherings

If you choose to host or attend an indoor social gathering:

  • it cannot exceed the indoor social gathering limit of five people indoors
  • have the fewest number of people possible
  • consider participating virtually or not attending the event, especially if you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease and/or exposure to covid 19
  • wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask and physically distance when:
    • indoors with multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown
    • with people who are immunocompromised 
  • ensure supplies such as hand sanitizer and soap are available
  • open windows for air flow if possible and ensure proper ventilation
  • clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • guests should not attend if they feel unwell, even if their symptoms are mild
  • anyone who is required to isolate cannot attend
  • consider creating a list of guests so they can be notified in the event a guest develops symptoms of covid 19
  • follow any local public health unit requirements for your region

Currently, businesses and organizations are required to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site. Businesses or organizations should not be holding gatherings, parties, or festive events at this time.

Outdoor social gatherings

If you choose to host or attend outdoor social gatherings

  • do not exceed the outdoor social gathering limit of 10 people
  • wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask if required, or if physical distancing cannot be maintained and the vaccination status of individuals in attendance is unknown
  • avoid high-touch surfaces and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly or use hand sanitizer
  • if you are singing or shouting, wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask and maintain physical distancing, where possible
  • guests should not attend if they feel unwell, even if their symptoms are mild
  • anyone who is required to isolate cannot attend
  • consider creating a list of guests so they can be notified in the event a guest develops symptoms of covid 19
  • follow any local public health unit requirements for your region

If you choose to hold or attend outdoor organized public events, including memorial ceremonies, and other events, remember:

  • while outdoor settings are safer than indoor ones, there is still a risk of covid 19 transmission
  • avoid crowds and wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask if you cannot maintain physical distancing (two metres or more) from people you do not live with  

We encourage organizers of these events to collect and maintain a list of staff, volunteers and contractors and also to pre-register parade participants to support covid 19 contact tracing. Check with your public health unit for local restrictions that may apply.

Exchanging gifts

  • Maintain physical distancing of two metres and wear a face covering when exchanging gifts with individuals from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown.
  • Wash your hands after handling or opening gifts.

When to wear face coverings

Even if fully vaccinated, you must wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask and physically distance when it is required, including at indoor and outdoor organized public events and in indoor public spaces (with limited exceptions).

Face coverings should:

  • cover your nose, mouth and chin at all times
  • not have gaps, fit securely to the head, and be comfortable

Regardless of where you are, you should wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask and physically distance if you feel it is right for you, especially if you or others are immunocompromised or at high-risk of severe disease or exposure to covid 19

While vaccination reduces the risk of severe outcomes, being fully vaccinated may not prevent spread of the Omicron variant.

Indoors

When gathering indoors:

  • with five or fewer fully vaccinated individuals, you can remove your face covering if everyone is comfortable
  • with five or fewer people from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown, wear a face covering or mask and physically distance

Outdoors

When gathering outdoors:

  • with 10 or fewer fully vaccinated individuals, no face covering or physical distancing is necessary
  • with people from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccination status is unknown, you should consider wearing a face covering or mask you cannot maintain physical distancing (two metres or more) from people you do not live with
  • at organized public events, you must wear a tight-fitting face covering or mask if you cannot maintain physical distancing (two metres or more) from people you do not live with
 

Travel and overnight stays

If you are considering travel and/or an overnight stay:

  • ensure you adhere to provincial restrictions on organized public events and social gatherings (local restrictions may also apply)
  • consider whether you, someone you live with or anyone you plan to visit with is at higher risk for severe illness from covid 19, to determine whether to stay overnight in the same residence or to stay elsewhere
  • consider and prepare for what you will do if you or someone else becomes ill during the visit, even with mild symptoms, including creating plans for self-isolation, health care and travel home

Domestic and international travel

Please note you must follow all rules and regulations related to international travel outlined by the federal government.

You should avoid non-essential travel to all destinations. If you choose to travel, we recommend that you are fully vaccinated.

Regardless of vaccination status, while you are travelling you should practice personal public health measures while away and upon your return.

This includes:

  • wearing a mask or face-covering, physical distancing
  • frequently washing your hands and staying outdoors as much as possible to reduce risk of contracting covid 19
  • staying informed about the covid 19 situation at your destination
  • following all local covid 19 restrictions
  • staying home if you feel unwell when you return, even if your symptoms are mild

If you stay at another home overnight or host overnight guests:

  • wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • people from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown should maintain physical distancing (two metres at all times) and wear face coverings
  • people from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown should not sleep in the same bedroom and should use separate washrooms, if possible
  • spend time together outdoors
  • have a plan for what to do if someone feels unwell, even with mild symptoms

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