October 22nd, 2020

Canadians urged to keep COVID-era Thanksgiving gatherings small, virtual


By The Canadian Press on October 11, 2020.

People wear face masks as they walk in a city park in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic washes over the country, Canadians from coast to coast are being asked to limit the size of their Thanksgiving gatherings or keep them entirely virtual.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic washes over the country, Canadians from coast to coast are being asked to limit the size of their Thanksgiving gatherings or keep them entirely virtual.

With daily case counts continuing to rise in several provinces, increased restrictions came into effect in some hot spots heading into the long weekend.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford 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.

The message came as the province imposed harsher restrictions on the hard-hit areas of Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region.

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

Even in the so-called “Atlantic bubble,” where case counts have been creeping upwards of late, officials are urging people to limit their gatherings to their immediate circle of 10 people.

“Nova Scotians have made changes to their daily lives to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and it’s no different for Thanksgiving,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

“When deciding who to invite, consider the impacts on family and friends who may be more vulnerable and adjust your Thanksgiving celebrations to be as safe as possible.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan also noted that the holiday would look different this year, though he encouraged British Columbians to celebrate “creatively and safely.”

“Because of COVID-19 we will be connecting in smaller groups, or virtually, or on the phone,” Horgan said in a statement.

“We are stronger together. Happy Thanksgiving.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2020.

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