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Everything You Need To Know About Ontario's New Holiday Guidelines

We answered your questions about the holidays this year.
Ontario Editor
Ontario's New Holiday Guidelines: Here Is Everything That You Need To Know

Christmas in Ontario is going to look a little bit different this year. 

On Wednesday, Doug Ford shared Ontario's new holiday guidelines and stated that you should only be spending time with those in your household this December. 

We've asked you what you want to know about these newest guidelines and have compiled a list of answers below. 

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Would I be allowed to host my brother for Christmas? 

According to the Ontario government, it depends on your living situation as to whether or not you should spend Christmas with your siblings.

If you live in the same household, then absolutely! However, if the two of you live in separate homes, the guidelines state that you shouldn't get together.

The exception to this is if one of you lives alone. Ford states that an individual is allowed to join one household for the holidays.

So if your brother lives by himself, you would be able to host him for Christmas dinner if he hasn't already joined another household.

Can a few friends gather in a cottage out of town?

Currently, the Ontario government is discouraging you from seeing anybody that is not inside of your household.

This means, that you shouldn't be going to cottages with friends that you do not live with.

On top of this, all residents must abide by the social gatherings limits in the region they are in.

This means, depending on where you are, you can have gatherings of no more than 10 people or five people or even no social gatherings indoors.

Are they only asking us to stay in our household or telling us to? 

Currently, these new guidelines are only recommended advice from health officials.

However, it is strongly encouraged that you only stay in your household during the holidays to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

"We're asking everyone to please stick to your own household when celebrating," Ford stated in the press release.

"Avoid big holiday parties or large family dinners to help us stop the spread of this deadly virus. By following this public health advice, we can all have a safe and fun holiday season."

Yet, it is important to note that social gathering limits rules are still in place and these must be followed.

How will the government be enforcing these rules?

Since these new guidelines are only recommendations, they currently cannot be enforced.

However, the government is reminding residents that they can issue fines if social distancing guidelines are ignored.

So for Toronto and Peel, who are in lockdown, no social gatherings are allowed and you can be fined if one is hosted.

Those in the red zone are only allowed to have indoor gatherings of five people, while those in the yellow and green are only allowed to have 10.

If you are caught going against these gathering limits, you can face fines up to $100,000.

Will there be exceptions for certain regions? 

No. During the announcement on Wednesday, Doug Ford made it clear that these recommendations are for the entire province.

"No matter where you live in the province, the safest way to spend the holidays this year is by only celebrating in person with the people you live with and celebrating virtually with everyone else," wrote the press release.

Some safe activities that the government recommends include virtual gatherings, building snowmen with members of your household, attending drive-in events and decorating your house.

Will this change if the numbers go down on a daily basis? 

While it is still unclear if recommendations will change over the next few weeks, it's not likely that restrictions will lift.

Earlier this week, Ontario's top doctor, Dr. David Williams, stated that he didn't think numbers would go down enough for restrictions to ease in the province.

In fact, he also stated that he would be "surprised" if Toronto and Peel's lockdowns only last up until December 21.

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