Planning for a COVID-safe Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving will be different this year as we celebrate in the midst of a global pandemic. Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reminding everyone of the need to be COVID-safe this upcoming holiday weekend and to take simple but effective actions to stop the spread of the virus.

“This Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks to everyone for the efforts and sacrifices you are making to plan for a COVID-safe celebration and keep the virus at bay,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “This is not easy for any of us. Changing traditions is hard as we figure out how to lower risks by going virtual or doing things outdoors; by wearing masks and keeping distance; and by sticking to smaller numbers and just our own households. These are sacrifices for which we all will be thankful in the weeks and months ahead,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reminding everyone that the safest options are to avoid non-essential travel, limit indoor gatherings to your own household, be outdoors or go virtual, practise physical distancing and handwashing, and of course, stay away if you have any symptoms.


Anyone who is planning to travel for Thanksgiving should be aware that COVID-19 is circulating at different levels around the province and country. Local cases have been linked to travel within the province and within Canada. The safest options are to stay in the area of your home community or region, consider non-travel related celebrations, and decide if the purpose of the trip is worth the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. No one wants to be the person who gives COVID-19 to their family or friends. For those who need or choose to travel:

  • practise physical distancing
  • wear a mask when distancing isn’t possible
  • wash your hands frequently
  • do not travel if you are sick and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • monitor yourself for symptoms when you travel and when you return
  • self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada if you have travelled internationally

For anyone travelling for the weekend, talk with your family about what you have been doing in the 14 days before travelling. Think about how you can celebrate with loved ones in a way that protects everyone.

Gatherings and physical distancing

Limiting contacts and in-person interactions reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19. Infectious diseases do not take holidays, but if you choose to gather with others, remember:

  • You are strongly advised to stay within your own household for indoor activities such as hosting a dinner.
  • Although private gatherings of up to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors are allowed under provincial legislation, non-essential gatherings of any size should be limited and everyone is encouraged to limit close contact to household members only.
  • Keep 2 metres distance between people and wear a face covering if distancing is not possible.
  • Avoid crowded places, where physical distancing may be a challenge. Choose to watch sports, events, or movies at home.
  • Choose COVID-safe activities such as preparing family recipes to share with others and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.

As you make your plans for this holiday weekend, assess the risk, and follow the Top-10-COVID-Rules-to-Live-By. Ask yourself if it is necessary to gather in-person and if so, determine how you can make the activity safer.

“Connecting with friends and loved ones is important and I thank everyone for finding new and creative ways to do so safely,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “With case numbers rising to create another wave, we cannot let our guard down. The choices we make today, and in the future, will help keep our schools, workplaces, and communities safe,” added Dr. Sutcliffe

For more information or if you have questions, please visit Keep connected with our Facebook and Twitter pages or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on October 2, 2020