As we move into the Thanksgiving long weekend, many of us are in a state of anxiety in trying to balance the spirit of the holiday and our responsibility to protecting our family and community from the continued spread of COVID-19.
It’s hard to sift through all of the information out there on the most up to date public health guidelines and to decide how to proceed.
The City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services has devised a series of guidelines and graphics to help residents understand their recommendations and how to implement them.
Below are some of the most up-to-date information on the city’s recommendations to help celebrate Thanksgiving responsibly as we enter the second wave of the pandemic.
- Drivers advised to prepare for slippery roads this week in Hamilton
- HPS officer tests positive for COVID-19
- Hamilton man arrested for alleged public masturbation
Most of this information can be found on the city’s website, as well as details for booking an appointment to get a COVID-19 test.
What are the need-to-knows?
“Most of the new COVID-19 cases in Hamilton are being traced back to social gatherings where people are coming into close contact with each other, gathering indoors, sharing food, and not wearing masks,” says a City of Hamilton press release sent Thursday (Oct. 8).
“While these are the kind of gatherings we are all used to over the Thanksgiving weekend, this year we need to keep it small and gather with just those we usually live with.”
Hamilton asks residents to consider the following:
- Connect with your family and friends virtually over a video call
- Meet up for a distanced hike outside. Remember to keep physically distant if you are not part of the same household and wear a mask if you can’t keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart
- Currently, public health guidelines limit the number of indoor gathering to 10 people physically distanced and outdoor gatherings to 25 physically distanced people.
- Meeting up outside and keeping gathering times short
- Taking extra precautions if people are elderly or have chronic health conditions
- Share your thanks and gratitude with family and friends over social media
- Washing hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
- Staying home if sick, self-isolating from others and getting tested
Getting outside this weekend?
Also, while hiking Hamilton’s waterfall trails is a favourite for many families in the area, take note that under current protocols, most of the city’s waterfalls are accessible by appointment only.
In the release sent Thursday, the city noted that from October 9-12 is already fully booked at both Dundas Peak, Tew Falls and Webster Falls.
“Before you head to the waterfalls, plan ahead and check www.conservationhamilton.ca for information on how to reserve your spot to visit,” it says.
“To limit the number of people gathering together, only visitors with reservations will be allowed entry.”
The Hamilton Conservation Authority recommends checking their website regularly for updates on access to their areas and protocols.
More info from Hamilton’s health-care providers
For those who want to understand more about the recent changes to public health’s recommendations, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton shared this Q & A with Hamilton’s Dr. Zain Chagla, infectious disease physician and medical director of Infection Control.
In it, Chagla provides some insight on why there are new protocols and how people can navigate Thanksgiving weekend safely.
Information from the Province of Ontario
On Friday afternoon, the province of Ontario announced that several regions will revert to a version of Stage 2 reopening protocols hours after 939 newly confirmed cases were reported in the province.
The Region of Peel, along with Toronto and Ottawa, will be rolled back to a modified version of Stage 2, which forces the closure of movie theatres, casinos, gyms and more. It also prohibits indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls.
Hamilton is not affected by this announcement.
The most up-to-date provincial COVID-19 information can be found on the Province’s website.
On behalf of all of us at InTheHammer.com, we wish you and your family a very happy and safe Thanksgiving long weekend even if it is a little different this year.