TORONTO — With Thanksgiving weekend approaching, many Canadians are preparing to host or attend gatherings with their friends and families.

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But as the threat of the Delta variant looms, experts say hosts should proceed with caution and avoid large, indoor gatherings with unvaccinated guests.

Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, says Canadians should consider taking their Thanksgiving dinner outside if possible.

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“If you can get away with it because the weather is nice enough, have an outdoor gathering. Or make your gathering as close to the outside as possible, which means getting lots of fresh air in and out of the house, ‘ he told on Monday.

This includes opening windows and doors to ensure good ventilation, Morris says. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control also recommends opening windows as well as using fans to circulate fresh air during indoor gatherings.

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Public health restrictions continue in most provinces and territories that limit indoor gatherings to 10 to 25 people. In most cases, Morris recommends adhering to these gathering limits set by public health officials.

There is no limit to private indoor or outdoor gatherings in Saskatchewan despite COVID-19 cases reaching record highs. The vaccination rate in the province is also among the lowest in Canada.

University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Dr. Nazeem Muhajrein wants the province to impose stricter limits on private gatherings.

“In some places … there is a lot of community spread (COVID-19) and I think in those places, I would say that we should not have any gathering with people we are not with,” Muhajreen said in a phone call. live.” Interview with on Monday.

Except for Alberta, no province has a ban on indoor gatherings with unvaccinated guests. Still, Morris and Muhajrin agree that Canadians hosting Thanksgiving celebrations should ensure that attendees are fully vaccinated.

“The safest thing you can do is make sure everyone who comes into your household is vaccinated. And that will get rid of a lot of the risk,” Morris said.

Muhajrin says that having a smaller gathering also makes it easier to make sure all of your guests are vaccinated.

“If you’re inviting dozens of people, it’s unlikely that you’ll be checking people’s vaccination status at the door. And so, I think private gathering limits are a really important component,” he said. said.

Morris says children under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated, underscoring the need for gathering with COVID-19 safeguards.

“If you have a family with a group of young children … you want to try to do as many things as possible, like try to exclude it and make sure everyone who participates is vaccinated.” Goes.”

Morris also predicted that COVID-19 cases would increase nationwide after the Thanksgiving weekend.

“I think clearly, the biggest risk we’ve seen during the pandemic are holidays. And they don’t have to be statutory holidays. We’ve seen it with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” he said.

Entire Canada gathering limits

While some provinces and territories have lifted their limits on private gatherings, others continue to maintain or reimpose restrictions in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.

Aside from Saskatchewan, there are no restrictions on private social gatherings in the Yukon, either indoors or outdoors.

Alberta: The province allows private gatherings with up to 10 people from two households if they have been vaccinated or are not eligible for the vaccine. Unvaccinated Albertans not eligible for the vaccine are not allowed to attend indoor gatherings. Struggling to deal with record-breaking hospitalizations, Alberta has been a COVID-19 hotspot in this fourth wave.

British Columbia: Some areas currently have stricter rules on gatherings than others. In Fraser East, which includes Abbotsford, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and Mission, which are not fully vaccinated, they are limited to five visitors or one other family if they are gathering inside. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 visitors. There is no limit to in-person gatherings for those who have been fully vaccinated. In the Indoor and Northern Health Areas, indoor gatherings cannot include more than five guests or one other family, regardless of vaccination status. There are no restrictions on in-person gatherings in the rest of the province.

Manitoba: The province is set to limit indoor private gatherings to 10 people or two households. These restrictions will take effect from Tuesday and will not affect fully vaccinated Manitobans.

new Brunswick: The province allows indoor gatherings of up to 20 people within a social bubble, which the province calls “constant contact”. As long as there is physical distancing, there is no limit for outdoor gatherings.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Private gatherings are only allowed within a social bubble of 20 people. At Bai Verte Peninsula, Boyd’s Cove and New World Island, the maximum bubble size is 10 people.

Nova Scotia: Up to 25 are allowed to assemble indoors and 50 outside without masks or physical distancing.

Northwest Territories: A maximum of 200 people can gather inside and outside the house.

Nunavut: The area has limited indoor gatherings to 10 people, plus household members, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.

Ontario: The maximum limit for indoor gatherings is 25. For outdoor gatherings, the limit is 100.

Quebec: A maximum of 10 people or occupants of three houses are allowed to gather indoors in a private residence. For outdoor gatherings, the limit is 20 people or three households. Quebec also continues to “highly recommend” masking and physical distancing at gatherings.

Prince Edward Island: The limit is 20 people for both indoor and outdoor gatherings.

With files from reporter Alice Kotick


This story has been updated to include a ban on in-person gatherings in the Fraser East, Interior and Northern Health Areas of British Columbia.