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A Reminder to Community Event Organizers Safe Gathering in Stage 3

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By mid August, all provincial regions moved into Stage Three of the Province of Ontario’s ReOpening Plan.

In alignment with Stage Three Guidelines, indoor gatherings increased to a maximum of 50 people and outdoor gatherings increased to a maximum of 100 people. In the case of people gathering indoors for religious services, rites or ceremonies, and wedding ceremonies or funeral services, hosts could continue to fill a room up to 30 per cent of the capacity as introduced in Stage 2.

In both cases – indoor and outdoor – individuals must maintain physical distancing of at least two metres with people from outside their households or social circles. And as per my July 30 Letter of Instruction, face coverings must be worn by everyone ages 2 and up in enclosed public spaces.

The end of summer brings thoughts of the fall traditions and the community events we’ve enjoyed year after year. However, with the current restrictions likely to be in place for the foreseeable future, businesses, community organizations and service clubs must use their creativity to rethink traditional events. Holiday parties, parades, fall harvest celebrations, Remembrance Day, and Halloween events must look different this year.

Event planners are urged to follow the Guidance for Events during COVID-19 and use the Event Checklist to assist in designing safe activities, events, and gatherings.

The coronavirus pandemic has required all of us to flex our creative muscles, adapt to change and be open to new possibilities. It is important to acknowledge that we have also grieved the loss or postponement of important personal and community events. The measures we are taking, however, will ensure that we are all healthy enough to enjoy these familiar and treasured occasions in years to come when it is again safe to gather with our fellow community members.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the health and safety of your community. Your efforts are sincerely appreciated.

Dr. Joyce Lock
Medical Officer of Health
Southwestern Public Health

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