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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Visiting and Celebrations

General advice about gatherings

  • Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to celebrate, especially if people in the group are unvaccinated or if their vaccination status is unknown.
  • Gather outdoors when possible.
  • Keep gatherings small and keep your contacts consistent. The fewer people who gather, the lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • You should not attend if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild. Ask your guests not to attend if they have any symptoms.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the event.
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease and/or exposure to COVID-19.

Lower risk gatherings

Do not participate in gatherings of any kind if you have symptoms, even if they are mild. If you have ANY symptoms of COVID-19, isolate from others and get tested. You must stay isolated until you receive negative test results or an alternate diagnosis.

If you choose to hold or participate in an in-person gathering or event with people outside your household, you should take precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. If you choose to gather

  • Have the fewest number of people possible at your gathering, to reduce potential risk.
  • Use outdoor spaces whenever possible, and open windows if possible, to improve ventilation.
  • Provide all the necessary supplies, including hand sanitizer, soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • If you choose to serve food or drinks at your party, you should:
    • Wash your hands before and frequently during preparation and serving; and;
    • Have everyone wash their hands before and after eating.

Ideas for Low-Risk Gatherings and Celebrations

Consider safer ways to celebrate or to mark special events:

  • Connect virtually to enjoy a meal together with family, friends or co-workers.
  • Enjoy an intimate celebration with members of your household.
  • Leave gifts or baked goods at your family’s doorstep for contact-less delivery.
  • Donate to your favourite holiday charities.
  • Send a video to your loved one with a celebratory message.
  • Make a gift or card and put it in the mailbox as a nice surprise.
  • Arrange an online party with family and friends to celebrate your event
  • Celebrate outdoors with a hike or a family walk in the park.

Giving Back to Your Community

It is the perfect time to think about those who are struggling. Suggest to colleagues and family members to donate money, gifts, food, or other supplies to local charities, such as filling a basket for your local food bank.

How to prepare items for donation:

  • Contact the charity or organization to learn what items are in need or being accepted. Making donations in a contact-less manner (e.g., cash, gift cards) can be a way to support local charities, while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Try to choose items that come in packaging or have hard or non-permeable surfaces (such as plastic) and are easy to clean and disinfect.
  • Wash or sanitize hands before handling donation items.
  • Wipe down the item, package, or non-perishable food package with an approved low level disinfectant (you can find the list at Canada.ca)  if possible, prior to taking to a donation centre.
  • Avoid participating in gift donating if you are feeling sick.

After receiving a donated item:

  • Wash or sanitize hands before and after handling donated items.
  • Wash clothing according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry completely.
  • Toys with hard surfaces should be cleaned with an approved low-level disinfectant, and soft surface toys should be washed if possible or cleaned using soap and water, or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.

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COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Symptoms or exposure? Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.

COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.