I have been very quiet (almost completely silent) online for the better part of the last 3 months. I had started off our period of self-isolation in mid-March very active in my work, sharing recipes, thoughts and more online. Then I fell off the map.There are multiple reasons for that and I won’t get into them at this time.
Right now, I am writing because I am seeing and hearing things that I cannot comprehend, and I am certain that it is because there is some misunderstanding about what we actually need to do to avoid, or at least minimize, the impact of a second wave.
I have been asked by a number of people to put together a post that clarifies some of the misunderstandings that are contributing to the community spread of Covid-19 this summer. This particular post deals mainly with household gatherings. I will share further posts on other misunderstandings that require clarification. Please note that I am including government links to back this up.
#1- The maximum number of guests allowed at your home gathering, EVEN IF IT IS OUTDOORS is 10 PEOPLE (https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/gatherings-events-covid19/#c59362)
All of those fab Facebook photos you see of your girlfriends getting together or grandparents with all of their grandkids from different households where everyone has arms around each other…those activities are NOT respecting the guidelines and leave all participants open to the risk of spreading COVID-19.
#2 – You must still keep a 2-meter (6-foot) distance between members of different households at your private home gathering of 10. (same link as above)
- All of those fab Facebook photos you see of your girlfriends getting together or grandparents with all of their grandkids from different households where everyone has arms around each other…those activities are NOT respecting the guidelines and leave all participants open to the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- If your table cannot seat all 10 people while respecting a distance of at least 2 meters between members of different households, then you may not all sit around the same table.
- This means that you cannot seat 10 people, or 8 people or even 2 people, around a dining room table unless there is at least a 2 meter distance between each and every member of your household and each and every member of the other household(s). You must find a seating arrangement that allows for a 2m distance between attendees from different households.
- Add a second table at a 2 meter distance for all attendees from a different household(s) (measure from back of closest chair of table 1 to closest chair of next table) For example- Your sister’s family at a one table, your family at another table and your parents at another table with at least 2m distance between all of the tables.
- Have people eat on chairs with their food on their laps in a seating arrangement that allows for 2 meters between members from different households. ( In this case- only one person must serve the food- buffet style is NOT recommended).
- Have a side-by-side picnic with blankets 2 meters apart. You can even have everyone BYO Food and their own blanket- Everyone gets it and it is a lot less stressful. These days, just getting together with loved ones is more important than being the ‘hostess with the mostest’!
- Don’t invite people over for a meal. This way you don’t have a table occupying valuable distancing space. That said- Wide and large tables can be great ways of keeping everyone exactly where they should be 😉
- To clarify further on the above: If you cannot space members from one household at least 2 meters apart from the members of your own household, as well as the members of any other household present at the gathering, then the maximum number of attendees permitted is REDUCED to the number that you can accommodate while maintaining a 2 meter distance between households. (same link as above)
#3 – The rumour that the government has relaxed the 2-meter guideline to 1 meter or 1.5 meters is FALSE.
- The 1.5 meter guideline applies only to venues where there is no social interaction, and people are faced forward towards the front of the room- for example: a cinema or a university classroom. (What is the maximum number of people allowed in public places during COVID-19?/)
- The 1-meter guideline is for children 16 and under WITH OTHER CHILDREN 16 and UNDER. (IMHO this rule likely created to allow for school to ever reopen again). Children under 16 must still maintain a 2m distance with those over 16 years of age. Adults in any location outside of venues such as described above must still maintain a 2m distance from everyone with whom they do not reside – regardless of age. (https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/gatherings-events-covid19/ ‘Recommendations for Children’)
#4 – Gatherings of up to 50 people are NOT PERMITTED AT YOUR HOME OR IN YOUR YARD.
- The 50-person limit is for PUBLIC VENUES ONLY. On August 3rd, this limit is planned to be increased to 250 people. This does not make it OK or legal for you to hold a gathering of 50 people or 250 people or even 20 people in your yard or in your home. As per point#1 above, the limit for household gatherings is still 10 people. If you feel it necessary to have a larger gathering, you will have to find a venue where it is legal to do so. (https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/gatherings-events-covid19/#c62731)
#5 – Although it is permitted to gather indoors, it is recommended to gather OUTDOORS. If you still choose to gather indoors, it is recommended to turn off the air conditioner and any fans that may blow air onto attendees. (https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/gatherings-events-covid19/#c59362 – ‘Recommendations for Host’)
#6 – If you choose to gather indoors, you may wish to consider wearing a mask, but this is not mandatory in a private residence. It is however mandatory is all public places.
#7 – The Government requests that we limit gatherings to include members from a maximum of 3 households. While this particular ‘3 household limit’ is a request, which means you will not likely be fined if you have 10 people from 4 households, it is still a guideline for a reason. Consider that:
- in a gathering of 4 households, the homeowner will assign a washroom for guests, you still have 3 households worth of guests sharing one washroom.
- if you have a gathering of 10 people from 4 or 5 different households, each household needs to be seated 2 meters away from members of any other household- You will need a HUGE space for this.
#8 – Before hosting anyone at your home, you should review the ‘Recommendations for host’ section at https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/gatherings-events-covid19/#c59362 which covers how to deal with washrooms as well as things that you may not have thought about in advance, including, among other recommendations:
- make sure the meal is served by only one person and that they washed their hands properly first.
- during the meal, avoid sharing items as much as possible:
- Sauces and condiments must be served in individual containers;
- Glasses must be identified with the guest’s name;
- Avoid dishes that are shared, such as dips and vegetables;
- Utensils and damp cloths must be used by only one person;
- Avoid buffet-style or self-serve meals.
For more answers to the questions regarding what is or is not advisable (travel, transportation, gatherings, audiences) as we all attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19, I highly recommend going to the Government of Quebec website’s FAQ section re Covid-19. Here is the link: https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/answers-questions-coronavirus-covid19/transportation-travel-covid-19/#c57569
I hope that this has helped to clarify some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings for you.
PLEASE SHARE this with your loved ones, via email and on your social channels to help clarify things for your own friends and loved ones. We live in a very confusing time, but spreading the accurate information will help to enlighten those who misunderstood and help to stop the spread and make a second wave less likely (or at least less horrible).
I will share a few more posts to clarify other guidelines.
If you have specific questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to respond based on info shared by our own government or other accredited and reliable sources.
Stay Safe everyone.
6 feet apart.