The Easter long weekend traditionally celebrates spring as a time of rejuvenation, growth and hope. This year, more residents are being vaccinated each day, bringing the hope of normalcy closer to reality. But now, under Red-Control status, we still need to practise patience and vigilance to help protect ourselves and our loved ones from the spread of COVID-19.
Here are some helpful tips for a safer and enjoyable long weekend.
Keep your home celebration to the people in your household
It’s been more than a year now and we are longing to connect with our extended family and friends in our homes. This well-intentioned act may seem harmless on the surface. However, this similar scene has played out in Ottawa and in other areas with unfortunate and tragic consequences, even outdoors.
Ottawa has witnessed a high number of people testing positive and an increase in per cent positivity over the past few weeks. And now the prevalence of virus variants-of-concern has posed higher contagious rates and increased risks of severe illnesses. To reduce the risk of any exposure, you need to limit your contact to those who live in your household. If someone visits you outdoors, be sure to keep a two-metre distance and wear a mask.
Shop local for special gifts and treats
Shop in-person or online at local retailers for chocolate treats for the kids or the kids-at-heart, flowers for friends and family and special gift baskets. Many retailers offer delivery and curbside pickup. If you can’t connect with people outside your household, you can give them something special to say you care. If you plan to shop in-person, remember to wear a mask, use the hand sanitizer provided at the store entrance, and maintain a safe distance from store staff and other customers. Retailers must post their occupancy limits so help them out by shopping alone or with one other family member.
Takeout or delivery from local restaurants
During the long weekend, you may want to enjoy staying at home, while taking a break from cooking. Explore many of our local restaurants and food establishments for delivery and takeout options – whether it’s pizza, chicken dinner or Thai food. And don’t forget about ordering a sweet treat for brunch or dessert from your neighbourhood bakery or specialty food store.
Connect with family and friends online
While we need to limit in-person contact with people outside our household, you can still make that connection online or by phone. This is a way to connect and lift the spirits and mental outlook for you and your family or friends. You can share the latest news, laughs or let your family members take part in a party game or the kids’ Easter egg and chocolate hunt.
Enjoy outdoors, stay active
Physical activities, sunshine and fresh air is a great way to enjoy the weekend while benefitting your overall health. Take a walk, run or even a bikeride along many of our multi-use pathways. For those who want to practise kicking or tossing a ball around with kids, please stay off the community and school sports fields and diamonds as the ground remains wet and fresh from the recently melted snow.
When walking or running, always bring a mask with you should you encounter a situation where keeping a safe distance from others becomes more difficult.
Indoor restaurant dining and patios
For those who want to go to their favourite food establishment for breakfast, brunch or supper, the provincial government has altered Red-Control regulations for restaurants. This includes:
- Allowing restaurants to operate indoor dining at 50 per cent of capacity, in accordance with physical distancing regulations, to a maximum of 50 people
- Indoor dining tables must only be shared by people from the same household.
For outdoor restaurant and bar patios, Ottawa Public Health strongly encourages everyone to share a table only with people from the same household.
While dining, be vigilant in your COVID-prevention practices – which includes providing your name and telephone number for contact tracing purposes, wearing a mask when away from your table or when a server approaches, not visiting other tables and keeping two metres from others. This protects you, patrons and staff. And remember to be patient, kind and respectful to staff and other patrons as everyone is working for a safer environment.
Spring brings hope, keep our guard up
We understand that this pandemic has been a long haul and difficult for everyone, with many holidays and special occasions being altered. As more people are getting vaccinated in our community each day, it is moving us that much closer to getting back to seeing family and friends in-person. Keep your spirits and your COVID-prevention habits up, as we have come too far to let our guard down.
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