Are there any options to celebrate Mother's Day safely?
TORONTO -- For the second year in a row, top health officials in Ontario are pleading with the public to avoid any in-person celebrations for Mother's Day this year.
The province’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said Thursday that in order to end our third pandemic wave and avoid a fourth, we have to continue to drive transmission down. That means staying home.
“So yes, this means that if you don't live with your mother, I'm sitting here once again asking Ontarians to celebrate Mother's Day virtually this weekend,” Yaffe said. “The virus is still spreading. We know how it spreads from person to person, which is why we have been so focused on asking everybody to limit the number of contacts that you have.”
Historically, Ontario hasn’t done well with holidays. The province has seen spikes in cases following events like Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.
But infectious disease specialist with St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Dr. Zain Chagla, says many people are past the point of giving up every event.
“Would you rather people do it virtually right now? Sure,” Chagla said. “People are missing life events left and right, that could be done outdoors safely … it starts the larger discussion of when we can start opening up at least low-risk outdoor stuff for people.”
Chagla said for people who live close to their parents, it's difficult hearing that they can't go celebrate Mother's Day. He says it would be helpful to give people information on how to celebrate safely instead of telling them there's no way to do it.
He said the fact that the pandemic is 14 months along gets exhausting for people, especially those who have been sacrificing time with loved ones.
So, although the advice from provincial officials is still to stay at home and avoid in-person gatherings, Chagla says there are low-risk activities you could consider.
“It's still following public health rules. But if you were going to do it, do it outdoors, 100 per cent do it outdoors,” Chagla says. “Ventilation is good. If you take a distanced walk, that's appropriate. If you're in an area that's a bit more crowded, consider wearing a mask for both sides. But I think you know, you're then using the opportunity to use, again, a low risk environment.”
A stay-at-home order for Ontario was implemented on April 8 and is set to expire on May 20, however it’s not clear at this point if the order will be extended.
Under the order, Ontarians are not allowed to gather with people other than members of their household.