Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday September 26, 2020
COVID-19 precautions to curtail Thanksgiving gatherings
With a little over two weeks before Thanksgiving on Oct. 12, a growing chorus of public health and political leaders are urging Canadians to scale back any plans for a sprawling dinner party.
The pleas started with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sobering national address Wednesday, and were amplified Thursday by officials in Ontario and Quebec — where the bulk of infections and deaths have occurred.
Health Minister Christian Dube urged Quebecers to avoid parties over the next few weeks — including the Thanksgiving long weekend — while Quebec’s public health director suggested private gatherings are driving infections rather than restaurants, where restrictions are in place.
“Which is very different from a party where … we forget (to maintain) your two metres,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, referring to social distancing guidance.
Earlier on Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford also acknowledged the temptation to gather with extended friends and family but stressed the importance of maintaining precautions.
“Nothing is more important than family and loved ones getting together,” said Ford.
“But in saying that, we’ve got to keep it under 10.”
Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Thursday that Thanksgiving can still happen as long as people practice caution and stick to gathering within their “cohorts,” which in the province is a bubble of up to 15 people.
“Smaller is safer. This is not the time for large gatherings,” Hinshaw said.
Infectious disease specialists warned any relaxation of the rules could undo months of sacrifice.
Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the division of infectious diseases at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., advised against travel and merging bubbles that share extended family members, even if it’s for just one night.
“Some families there might be a bubble of them in Toronto, a bubble of them in Ottawa, a bubble of them in Kingston,” notes Evans.
“But if at Thanksgiving they’re sort of saying well you know winter’s coming this is our last chance (so) let’s all get together, then all of a sudden you’ve got a conglomeration of what could be up to 30 people, and whatever other little connections they have.” (CTV)
“Graeme MacKay (Hamilton Spectator) reminds us that Thanksgiving is coming up in less than two weeks, though not perhaps as we remember it. Canadian Thanksgiving is October 12 this year, which is ironic, I suppose, since down here we call that Columbus Day or Indigenous People Day or something, and then we celebrate the mystical love of Pilgrims and Indians next month.”