With the Thanksgiving holiday almost here, area residents are being reminded to serve up COVID-19 safety with the usual fall festive fare.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging everyone to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday long weekend. This includes staying close to home as much as possible and ideally only marking Thanksgiving with those in your immediate household.
“Thanksgiving is traditionally the time to celebrate the fall harvest and gather with family, friends and loved ones,” says Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health with the HKPR District Health Unit. “This year, we ask people to be mindful of COVID-19 and celebrate Thanksgiving differently to reduce the spread of the virus. We’re now in the second wave and with cases of COVID-19 rising across Ontario, it’s essential we do our part to protect the health of our community.”
Local residents are encouraged to connect with family and friends either virtually or outdoors over Thanksgiving. Connecting by phone, social media or video conferencing can still allow people to get together – albeit remotely. If an in-person visit with family or friends is planned for Thanksgiving, it’s best to hold festivities outdoors staying within gathering limits and keeping a two-metre (six-foot) physical distance from others. Face coverings should also be worn. If any participants feel sick, they should stay home and not visit anyone.
“While we realize this year’s Thanksgiving may not be what we’re used to, these precautions are necessary to help reduce everyone’s risk of COVID-19,” Dr. Noseworthy said.
If students are coming home from college or university for Thanksgiving, the Health Unit urges extra precautions. It’s important for students who are back home to practise proper hand hygiene, wear a face covering indoors and keep at least two metres distance, especially while eating or drinking. If they are feeling sick, students should not return home for Thanksgiving.
People should also consider COVID-19 prevention tips when serving and preparing food. It’s recommended that food be plated individually by someone who is symptom-free and knowledgeable in safe food handling. Do not share food and beverages buffet or family style.
“Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate what we have, so let’s celebrate smartly and safely as we do our best to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” Dr. Noseworthy said.