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Wednesday, October 6, 2021 | 4:45 p.m. | Windsor-Essex County

Thanksgiving is a time of tradition where we celebrate all that we have to be thankful for. As we continue to manage the impact of COVID-19 on our longstanding traditions, the WECHU has put forward recommendations for celebrating this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend safely.

Last fall, Windsor-Essex saw its largest spike in cases following holiday activities associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. While vaccination assists by offering protection from COVID-19, locally, under 70% of Windsor-Essex residents are fully vaccinated, a number that has Health Unit CEO Nicole Dupuis urging residents not to let their guards down this holiday weekend, “We know that majority of our cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex are the Delta variant, which is more transmissible especially in indoor settings and among those that are not fully vaccinated. With this in mind, the risk of transmission during gatherings such as dinner parties and family events is very high.” This Thanksgiving, the WECHU has made a number of recommendations for safer Thanksgiving celebrations, including keeping your celebration as small as possible, celebrating outdoors, screening those outside of your household for symptoms, and inquiring into their vaccination status.

Some additional recommendation for a safe Thanksgiving weekend are below:

  • Abide by all measures in the Reopening Ontario Act and follow local restrictions
    • Visit the health unit’s website for a list of current rules and guidelines.
  • Celebrate outdoors whenever possible.
  • Keep distance and wear masks when 2m of physical distancing cannot be maintained outside of while eating and drinking.
  • Keep your group to the smallest number of people possible as the more people that come to an event the more likely for an exposure to the virus to occur.
  • Monitor your guest list to ensure everyone is vaccinated.
  • Ask all attendees to complete the online COVID-19 self-assessment honestly, and arrange for alternative lower risk celebrations (such as virtual) if they are not able to attend.

The level of adherence to these recommendations will make a sizeable difference in the ongoing battle against the spread of COVID-19 according to Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, WECHU’s Acting Medical Officer of Health and those who plan to host a Thanksgiving celebration have a number of important decisions to make, per Nesathurai, “Any indoor social gathering, especially dining events, remains a high risk activity. With approximately 70,000 eligible local residents not fully vaccinated, we should all carefully consider who we invite into our homes. It is important to ask guests not to attend a family event, if they are  having any symptoms.  There are steps that we can all take to contain COVID-19.”

For more information on how to celebrate and gather safely around the holidays, visit:

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