Ontario allows expanded social bubbles. Here's how to create your circle
TORONTO -- The government of Ontario is now allowing people to create social circles and has provided guidelines on how to properly expand your bubble as restrictions surrounding interacting with a larger group are eased.
The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said Friday he is now allowing people to create social circles of up to 10 people, who can interact without physical distancing.
Until today, Williams recommended Ontarians should physically distance from anyone outside of their household.
"This is a very, very important step forward," Premier Doug Ford said Friday. "This means finally hugging your grandparent or sharing a meal with your parents or closest friends but as we reopen and as we reunite we must continue to remain on guard."
The updated advice comes with a list of rules that the province says will help keep people safe.
Here's how to create your social circle:
Step 1: Start with your current circle. These include the people you live with or who regularly come into your household.
Step 2: If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including another household, family members or friends.
Step 3: Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle.
Step 4: Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle.
Step 5: Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.
The government said that restricting close contact to family or social circle helps keep the number of contacts low in the event a member of the circle becomes infected with COVID-19.
The government said that while physical distancing does not need to be practiced between members of the same circle, other public health advice like frequent hand washing should be followed.
Households with more than 10 people are not allowed to expand their social circle. The government also says that people with a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 may not want to not participate in social circles.
The province is also doubling social gathering limits as of today, now allowing up to 10 people, who are not from the same household, to get together, as long as they adhere to physical distancing rules. The increased social gathering rules apply to the entire province, regardless of whether the region is moving to Stage 2.
"I want to be clear, the rules for social circles are different from the recent expansion of social gatherings from five to 10 people," Health Minister Christine Elliott said Friday. "Social gatherings can be any 10 people from outside your household or circle but where physical distancing of at least two metres must be maintained."
"For example, the expansion of social gatherings will allow individuals and families to enjoy the company of others at backyard barbecues, picnics and neighbourhood parks while respecting physical distancing guidelines."