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Celebrate the Holiday Season Safely

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The holidays are fast approaching and like most things this year, they’re going to be different. COVID-19 is still present and spreading in our community. To keep each other safe, we will need to find new ways to follow old traditions or create new traditions as we celebrate in a different way this year.

Guidance for the Holidays

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In planning your holiday celebrations, keep COVID-19 restrictions in mind, including limits on gatherings, that are in place for London and Middlesex County, depending on the provincial COVID-19 response level we are in.

London and Middlesex County are now under the provincewide shutdown. Please stay home and stay safe. For details about the shutdown, including restrictions on gatherings, travel, schools, workplaces, and other organizations and services, please visit the Ontario Government's website at www.ontario.ca.

Please follow this general guidance:
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones, STAY HOME.
Only have close contact with those in your household. If you live alone, consider having close contact with only one other household.
Maintain two metres physical distance from anyone who isn’t part of your household.
Wear a mask, or face covering, whenever you’re in any indoor public setting or anywhere physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Have virtual gatherings and events; they are the safest way to celebrate with people outside your household.
Avoid non-essential travel.
If returning home for the holidays, (e.g. college or university students), self-quarantine, or significantly limit your close contacts for 14 days prior to going home, to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 and taking it home.
Wash your hands frequently for 15-20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol content.
Wash and disinfect high-touch surfaces often.

Take Care of Yourself

The holidays can be stressful during the best of times. This year, they could be more stressful than usual; not being able to gather with friends and family may make you feel isolated and alone. Remember that it’s okay to not feel okay. Take care of yourself and your mental health.

  • Reaching out to loved ones who may be struggling - a phone call, video call, thoughtful email, or hand-written note is a great way to tell them they are not alone and that you care.
  • If you’re struggling, tell a loved one, stay connected, and access supports like the Canadian Mental Health Association.
SAFE

Stay with your household and celebrate the holidays with others virtually. If you live alone, consider having close contact exclusively with one other household.

Suggestions:

Watch holiday movies with your household.
Decorate your home, put up lights, etc.
Donate to local charities or do random acts of kindness.
Enjoy outdoor winter activities with your household – tobogganing, hiking, skiing, building a snowman, etc.
Take holiday traditions virtual with those outside your household – video call while holiday baking, making crafts, having holiday meals, or opening presents.
If visiting Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, or elves, do it virtually.

Mail gifts or drop them off while maintaining two metres physical distance.

Shop online.

USE CAUTION
Outdoor gatherings with people who aren’t part of your household. If you live alone, consider having close contact exclusively with only one other household.

Tips:

Maintain two metres distance from others and wear a face covering.
Do not share food and drinks.
Keep outdoor gatherings small and brief.
If shopping in-person, plan to go during non-peak hours and go only with those in your household.
Suggestions:

Participate in outdoor activities that allow for physical distancing – hiking, skiing, tobogganing (don’t share a sled with anyone outside your household).

Drive around town to look at lights and decorations (only members of the same household should share a vehicle).

If visiting Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, or elves:

Visit outdoors instead of indoors.

Maintain two metres physical distance at all times, even if taking a photo - do not sit on Santa’s lap.

Wear a face covering at all times (children under two should never wear a face covering).

Maintain two metres of physical distance from everyone else while in line.

UNSAFE
Indoor gatherings with anyone who isn’t part of your household (if you live alone, consider having close contact exclusively with one other household).

Avoid:

In-person workplace gatherings.
Inviting guests into your home.
Indoor visits with anyone outside your household
Sharing food and drink.
Travel for non-essential reasons.

Tags: COVID-19, Holidays