Health officials: Keep your Thanksgiving gatherings small

Daily COVID-19 case counts rising in several provinces

Is turkey and all the trimmings on the dinner menu at some point this long weekend? Health officials are advising people to keep the gathering at the table to those in your immediate household. They’re even suggesting virtual gatherings, as a second wave of COVID-19 spreads across Canada.

“We’ve always said when it comes to the business of getting together for Thanksgiving, and people gathering in homes, we are advising that you stay with your home group that you live with,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health.

The message is the same from Ontario Premier Doug Ford. He has urged people to stick to their immediate households, saying it’s too risky even to expand the celebration to the current indoor gathering limit of 10 people.

“It’s not actually a legal requirement,” said Gardner. “It’s not enforceable. If you choose to have other family members over to your home, then you’re going against advice, but you’re not actually going against a regulation that’s enforceable. I think that’s an important thing to keep in mind. It’s not that we’re disallowing it. We’re advising against it strongly, but only advising against it.”

Gardner said if you are seeing other people, it should be physically distanced, and preferably outdoors.

The Ford government rolled back Toronto, Peel and Ottawa to a modified Stage 2 because of a surge in COVID-19 cases. Indoor dining is banned, gyms and movie theatres are closed.

In Quebec, where nearly every community along the St. Lawrence River is now considered a “red zone,” the health minister said police would be installing checkpoints on roads leading into some areas of the province.