Thanksgiving 2021: COVID-19 guidelines

Stay outside as much as possible as you gather with families and close friends. Let’s celebrate thanksgiving thoughtfully, cautiously, but with kindness and gratitude for all that we have.

For general guidance on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses visit Guidance for living with COVID-19 in the Yukon.

If you’re planning a gathering, or planning to attend a gathering this Thanksgiving, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risk of a respiratory illness being transmitted.

Use the 3 Cs to evaluate risks and make choices

The risk of COVID-19 transmission increases when the 3 Cs exist:

  • closed spaces with poor ventilation;
  • crowded places with large numbers of people; and
  • close contact where it’s difficult to physically distance from others.

Consider the number of people and vaccination status

  • It’s safest to celebrate with people who are part of your household or who you are in regular contact with.
  • Remind guests who are not feeling well to stay home and connect virtually instead.
  • Vaccination as well as keeping your social contacts small and consistent help limit the spread of COVID-19.
    • If you’re vaccinated you are much less likely to get COVID-19. This protects you, our community and those who cannot get vaccinated.
    • If you’re vaccinated and get COVID-19, you’re much less likely to get severe symptoms or be hospitalised. This protects you and it protects our health-care system from becoming overwhelmed and our health care staff from being overburdened.
    • If you’re eligible for vaccination and are not fully vaccinated yet, it’s recommended you stick to 6 people for any indoor or outdoor social gatherings.
    • If you’re hosting a gathering with more than 6 people, you should ask those who are eligible for vaccination but not yet fully vaccinated to join the celebration virtually.
  • If you have guests who had to stay home because they were not feeling well or are not yet vaccinated, consider delivering a “doggie bag” to their doorstep to help them feel more connected to the group.

Consider the space you’re in

  • Visit in larger rooms where there’s more space for people to sit or stand farther apart.
  • Choose well-ventilated spaces (spaces where there’s lots of fresh air) and open windows if you can.
  • Keep music low to reduce the need for loud talking or shouting.
  • Ensure proper cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, shared items and dishes. Use the guidance on cleaning in your home for tips on how to do this safely.
  • Have hand sanitizer, or hand soap and water available for guests to sanitize their hands, and encourage its use by all when they arrive and before eating.
  • Ask your guests if taking extra precautions would make them feel safer and do what you can to accommodate them. Have conversations early to avoid situations where 1 person is doing something that makes others feel unsafe.

Serve food safely

  • Thanksgiving gatherings usually involve sharing food with friends and family. Consider these tips to keep it as safe as possible.
  • Have everyone wash their hands before and after the meal.
  • Limit the number of people handling or serving food. Have a designated carver and server to limit sharing germs.
  • Serve drinks and food directly to guests rather than have everyone serving themselves.
  • Avoid sharing items like glasses, cutlery, gravy boats and saltshakers.  

Travel safely and respectfully

  • Consider avoiding non-essential travel to areas that are currently experiencing the 4th wave of COVID-19.
  • Travel responsibly and respectfully. Keep yourself informed about local COVID-19 circumstances and public health guidelines.
  • For travel within the Yukon, follow any travel advisories issued by First Nations governments, municipalities or communities.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated or someone you’re visiting is not fully vaccinated consider delaying travel until after you’re fully vaccinated.
  • Plan accordingly with the household you’re visiting, especially if you have to self-isolate.
    • Do they have safety measures they want you to uphold while you’re visiting? Do you have any that you’d like them to follow?
    • Have conversations early to avoid situations where 1 person is doing something that makes others feel unsafe.
    • Limit your contacts for 2 weeks before and after travelling.

Plan common activities for children safely

  • Try to do activities outside as much as possible.
  • Practise good hand hygiene and physical distancing.
  • If you’re doing crafts, plan for each child to have their own tools (for example, scissors, paintbrush, glue stick, colouring pencils and markers).
  • Plan crafts where fewer tools are needed, such as making origami animals. There are many ideas online.
  • Avoid common candy or snack bowls.

Take care of your mental health during the holidays

It’s important to take care of your mental health during this holiday season. If you’re feeling overwhelmed try reaching out to a supportive friend or family member.

If you live alone, consider spending the holidays with another household.

Connect with your loved ones during the holidays by:

  • email;
  • text message;
  • phone calls; and
  • video chat.

Get more information on mental health and wellness supports in the Yukon.