The winter holiday season is here – and many festive events, gatherings and celebrations have the potential to increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. To help you plan and celebrate the holiday season safely, please review the guidance and tips below.
Keep your gatherings small
While the indoor gathering limit is 25 people indoors, please consider keeping your gatherings as small as you can and make sure that everyone is vaccinated. The fewer people who gather, the lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Indoor and outdoor events
If you’re planning to host or attend holiday gatherings, please consider keeping your gatherings as small as you can and make sure that everyone is vaccinated. If you’re not feeling well, stay home.
- Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to celebrate, especially if people in the group are unvaccinated or if their vaccination status is unknown.
- Gatherings or events outdoors are safer than indoors.
- The fewer people who gather, the lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
For more information and guidance, please visit www.ontario.ca.
Frequently asked questions
I’m planning on gathering with my family and friends during the holiday season, but some of them have chosen not to be vaccinated or I am unsure of their vaccination status. What should I do?
- If hosting an event, consider asking that all individuals in attendance be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If attending an event, consider not attending events where unvaccinated individuals may be present.
- If it’s impossible to ensure all individuals at a gathering are fully vaccinated, consider moving the gathering outdoors, where possible, or into a larger indoor space that has good ventilation.
- If hosting an event that will include unvaccinated individuals, ensure that everyone at the event wear masks and maintains a distance of two meters between individuals not from the same household. If attending an event or gathering, ensure that you wear a mask and maintain physical distance, especially if you’re unvaccinated.
I’m planning on gathering with my family during the holiday season, and this includes children younger than 12 years old who have not yet had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. What should I do?
- Make sure that any children 5 to 11-years-old who will be present at the gathering have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Consider moving the gathering to an outdoor space, if possible, or to a large indoor space that has good ventilation.
- Ensure that all unvaccinated children who can wear a mask are wearing one, particularly when within two meters of individuals who are not from their household.
- During times when masks cannot be worn, such as when eating, ensure that unvaccinated children are physically distanced at least two meters away from individuals who are not from their household.
- Individuals who are severely immunocompromised or at a high risk of complications if infected with COVID-19 should strongly consider avoiding gathering with individuals who are not fully vaccinated.
My workplace is hosting an event or gathering to celebrate the holiday season. What should we do?
- Ensure that everyone attending the gathering is fully vaccinated.
- Wear masks as much as possible, especially if indoors or if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Where possible, organize events in outdoor spaces or in large, indoor spaces with good ventilation.
My COVID-19 Visit Risk Calculator
Not sure how risky your holidays plans may be this season? Use the National Institute on Ageing’s COVID-19 risk calculator.
Guidance and tips
Stay home if you’re sick
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.
- If you are planning an event and develop symptoms of COVID-19, cancel the event and reschedule after you have tested negative and have not had any symptoms for at least 24 hours.
- If you are attending an event and develop symptoms of COVID-19, seek testing and do not attend an event until you have tested negative and have been symptom free for at least 24 hours.
- If you are attending an event and develop symptoms of COVID-19 during or after the event, immediately self-isolate, inform the event’s host, and seek COVID-19 testing. The host should inform everyone in attendance at the event to monitor themselves for symptoms.
Reduce the number of people gathering
- Keep your gatherings and events smaller than normal.
- Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 25 people
- Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 100 people.
- Wearing masks reduces transmission of COVID-19.
- If gathering with only vaccinated individuals, you may consider removing your mask if everyone is comfortable. Maximizing mask use when possible will reduce your chance of catching COVID-19 or infecting others.
- Physical distancing is highly effective at reducing transmission of COVID-19.
- If gathering with only vaccinated individuals, you may consider gathering in closer proximity if everyone is comfortable.
- Set up shared spaces in a way that allows for a physical distance of two meters between individuals not from the same household.
- Reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by hosting events in outdoor spaces or in large indoor spaces with good ventilation.
- Reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by avoiding or limiting activities that increase the production of aerosols and droplets, such as singing, speaking loudly or yelling, and heavy breathing due to exercise. This is particularly important when gathering without masks, as masking reduces the spread of aerosols and droplets.
- Make sure everyone who attends your gathering is vaccinated, if eligible.
- Getting vaccinated is the best way to ensure safe gatherings this holiday season.
- If gathering with individuals that are unvaccinated, ensure that a proper physical distance of two meters is maintained between individuals that are not from the same household.
- If gathering with individuals that are unvaccinated, ensure proper masking is maintained, particularly when vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are gathered within two meters of each other.