With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Canada and around the world, attention has focused on large gatherings such as weddings and parties.
But what about smaller get-togethers with family or friends?
“As the holiday seasons approach, we need to be very careful with family gatherings,” says Vivek Goel, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a special adviser to the president and provost who is helping guide the university’s COVID-19 planning efforts.
“These could be situations where large numbers of people come together from many different places and have mixing that could lead to spread of disease. It's probably not a year to have major gatherings for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”
In episode 28 of his podcast on the pandemic, Goel – a renowned public health expert and founding head of Public Health Ontario, which was set up in response to the 2003 SARS outbreak – explains how social circles are meant to work and how limits on gathering do not remove the need to practise precautions such as distancing and masking.
“I often get asked, is it okay to have dinner with friends on a patio? That is fine, as long as everyone is practising the precautions and that you're having dinner with people that you know, and that you can trust are also following precautions.”
The COVID-19: What’s Next podcast is created by Goel in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by producer Lisa Lightbourn.
Note: The information in this podcast is current as of the posting date. Listeners should consult their local public health agency for the latest information in their jurisdiction.