Dr. Heather Morrison is reminding Islanders that COVID-19 measures will have to be considered for any gatherings tied to an annual event or holiday -- including Remembrance Day and Christmas.
"Like many aspects of our daily lives, Remembrance Day 2020 will be different," P.E.I.'s chief public health officer told a weekly briefing on Tuesday
This year will be the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War — and Morrison said remembering this milestone is important. However, it is equally important to mark the solemn occasion safely out of respect for those who might be susceptible to the coronavirus, she said.
"Ceremonies on P.E.I. this year will be smaller and respect the need of two metres of physical distancing," Morrison said.
"All Remembrance Day celebrations must adhere to the public health guidance."
Anyone planning a gathering involving more than 50 people will have to submit an operational plan to be approved by health officials. Morrison said health staff members are available for those with questions about ensuring events are held safely.
"Given that Nov. 11th ceremonies will be different, I encourage Islanders to show their respect for veterans by purchasing a poppy when they go on sale in late October," she said.
Christmas parties? Seek alternatives
With the Christmas season and other celebrations such as Diwali, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa not far away, Morrison said it is reasonable to assume two weeks of self-isolation will still be required for those coming to the Island from outside the Atlantic bubble.
"The discussion about holiday travel has also raised questions about Christmas and holiday parties," Morrison said. "It is a long-standing tradition for many employers to host parties for staff."
Morrison said other jurisdictions in Canada are noticing that personal and workplace gatherings have been epicentres in the spread of coronavirus.
"While holidays are a time of sharing and generosity, I encourage employers to consider alternative ways to acknowledge staff and/or clients this holiday season," she said. "Perhaps forego the traditional holiday party."
Those wanting to go ahead with a holiday get-together will need to have an operational plan including physical distancing safeguards — and if there are more than 50 people attending, the plan has to be approved by health officials.
Morrison is also encouraging Islanders to shop local for the holiday season.
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