Holiday virus precautions depend on vaccination status, symptoms, Ontario says


Kids in Ontario should wear a mask when taking photos with Santa Claus this year and should try to visit him outdoors or virtually if possible.

That’s one section of new guidance from Ontario’s chief medical officer, shared Thursday as residents prepare for the second pandemic December holidays.

COVID-19 vaccinations have changed the situation this year and the guidance says groups of fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks at indoor holiday gatherings if everyone is comfortable.

However, it’s recommended that people wear masks and physically distance from others if meeting with people from multiple households who aren’t vaccinated, are partially vaccinated or their vaccination status isn’t known.

Hosts are advised to keep indoor gatherings within the provincial limit of 25 people, keep windows open and ask people not to attend if they have symptoms.

It’s also recommended that hosts keep a list of guests in case it’s needed for contact tracing, and host events outdoors if possible.

Those attending organized public events like parades or lighting ceremonies should try to avoid crowds and maintain distance.

The guidance says people performing in parades should be fully vaccinated and wear masks if they can’t physically distance.

Workplaces hosting holiday parties are advised to pick venues with enough space for physical distancing.

For those travelling now that travel rules have loosened, the province is advising that people be fully vaccinated before doing so.

People staying overnight with different households should sleep in separate rooms if some are not vaccinated and it’s also advised to have a plan for what to do if someone becomes ill during the visit.