Christmas still encouraged to be celebrated with one household only

·2 min read

You should expect to see a lot fewer people gathered around the tree this Christmas.

According to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby, celebrating the holidays with people outside your household is a recipe for disaster.

“I know many people are looking forward to their traditional family celebrations at this time of year, but to keep your loved ones safe, traditions will have to be adjusted,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We’re asking everyone to please stick to your own household when celebrating. Avoid big holiday parties or large family dinners to help us stop the spread of this deadly virus. By following this public health advice, we can all have a safe and fun holiday season.”

Those who live alone are encouraged to celebrate the holidays with only one additional household. As well, any post-secondary students living away from home are asked to consider a self-quarantine for 10 to 14 days before returning home.

Dr. David Colby echoed Ford’s message, adding he doesn’t want people looking for loopholes in COVID-19 rules. The 10-person limit isn’t an excuse to invite over friends or relatives if you have a small household.

Colby said a household and family members are two separate things. He defined a household as the people you live with. They are the ones who reside at the same address. They are your household and within your own living space.

“I think it’s time to get away from rules. I mean, rules are helpful, but whenever there are rules, people are sort of saying, ‘Well, if I do this, can I circumvent the rules?’” said Colby.

He added you not only have to look at the letter of the law but the spirit of the rule.

“The spirit of the rule is to keep everybody safe,” said Colby. “Rather than worrying about whether the rules are being followed, we all have to ask ourselves, ‘What is the safest course of action for all concerned in this particular scenario?’ We’ve talked about that endlessly.”

Additionally, Colby said people travelling from jurisdiction to jurisdiction is a big problem. He said when he does contact tracing, the trails always lead outside of Chatham-Kent.

According to Chatham-Kent’s top doctor, smaller household parties mean less risk of catching and spreading the virus. Colby said this is something he has been “hammering away at for the last few weeks”.

“There is clear evidence that the more people that you assemble, the higher the risk,” said Colby. “Indoor gatherings are riskier than outdoor gatherings, so having a large number of people, especially people who have travelled from a higher-prevalence jurisdiction, this is potentially a recipe for disaster.”

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News