COVID-19 – Social & Family Gatherings, Holidays, & Seasonal Celebrations

Last Reviewed/Updated: January 18, 2022

In response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators. Learn more about the provincial changes here.


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Social Gatherings, Celebrations, Family Events

Before planning or attending a social gathering, celebration, or family event, check the Current Restrictions to determine how many people can gather at this time. As of January 5, 2022 gatherings are limited to a maximum of 5 people indoors, and 10 people outdoors. If you are organizing a social gathering, consider the asking whether invitees would be comfortable in attending and plan accordingly. In addition to the provincial restrictions, there may be enhanced local public health measures.

For more information on the management of COVID-19 cases, symptoms and exposures please visit COVID-19: Case and Contact Guidance.

PPH has five quick tips for residents to stay safer this winter.

  1. Check local and provincial guidance
  2. Get vaccinated
  3. Monitor for symptoms, and get tested if feeling unwell
  4. Go outdoors
  5. Plan safer indoor gatherings by using the risk assessment tool

Gatherings have the potential to increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including when:

  • there are large gatherings, or public events
  • travelling domestically or internationally
  • close contact occurs in indoor settings or in poorly-ventilated areas

If you choose to host an in-person gathering:

  • Do not exceed the gathering limit of 5 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.
  • You should have the smallest possible number of people at your party or gathering, and use outdoor spaces when possible.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces like door handles.
  • Ask guests not to attend if they do not feel well, and screen for symptoms before the gathering.
  • Track guests attending in case you need to notify anyone of an exposure.
  • Remind everyone of all public health guidance to follow during the event.

If you choose to serve food or drinks, you should:

  • Wash your hands before and frequently during preparation and serving; and
  • Have everyone wash their hands before and after eating.

If you choose to attend an in-person gathering:

  • Do not attend if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild, or have been recently exposed to COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the event.
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease.

Review the COVID-19 measures to keep you safe.

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Social Gatherings for Ice Fishing and Snowmobiling in the Peterborough Public Health Area

Note: Please check ice conditions before venturing out.

Winter is a busy time for winter recreation in Peterborough County and the adjoining regions. Whether snowmobiling on area trails, or ice fishing on local lakes, it’s also important to take aim at COVID-19 by preventing its spread. While it is great to get outdoors, ice fishing comes with its own COVID-19 risks – namely, that ice huts are generally small, confined spaces with poor ventilation, in most instances ice huts won’t have access to running water making hand hygiene more difficult, and ice fishing is typically done for hours at a time, increasing the risk of exposure.

Here are some tips to safe and make the most of your outdoor experience during the pandemic:

  1. Stay and play locally as much as possible to try and limit the spread of COVID-19. Luckily, Peterborough County has many outdoor recreation options.
  2. Until January 26, 2022 and possibly longer Ontario has restricted social gatherings to a maximum of 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors. That means, you must:
    • limit indoor ice hut gatherings to max 5 people
    • limit outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people
    • maintain 2 metres physical distance from others that are not from your household
    • wear a tight-fitting, well-constructed mask when 2 metres physical distancing is not possible – even outdoors
    • avoid sharing common utensils like cookware, coffee pots and fishing rods
    • thoroughly clean and disinfect commonly touched objects like faucets and door knobs

Ice fishing, snowmobiling, and COVID-19 Prevention

Before You Go

At Your Ice Fishing Hut

  • Keep ice fishing groups in one ice hut to a maximum of 5 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings at the ice hut are restricted to no more than 10 people.
  • Always maintain 2 metres (6 feet) from other anglers who are not part of your household. While ice fishing is often communal and social, physical distancing is critical to preventing transmission of COVID-19.
  • Wear a properly fitted 3-ply face covering or mask indoors (strongly recommended outdoors as well). A scarf or neck warmer cannot be used as a mask. A scarf does not provide a 3-layer tight fit around your mouth and nose that would prevent any droplets from escaping. If you are wearing a scarf you must also wear a properly fitted 3-layer mask.
  • Socialize outdoors rather than inside buildings or huts. Being outdoors reduces the spread of COVID-19.
  • Do not share food or drinks with those not part of your household.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water. If you don’t have access to soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect common and high-touch surfaces at the camp.
  • Do not share fishing gear, equipment or personal items (e.g. cigarettes, drinks, playing cards, cutlery). It’s best to only use your own items.
  • Track the names and contact information of people in your fishing party, just in case contact tracing is needed should someone get COVID-19.

If someone develops one or more symptoms of COVID-19 while fishing or snowmobiling, have a plan to communicate with the group and have the individual return home to self-isolate immediately. Contact Telehealth Ontario for guidance at 1 (866) 797-0000, or contact 911 if symptoms are severe.

Additional Resources

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