Planning on gathering this Easter weekend? Here are some tips on how to stay safe

If your plans for the Easter long weekend include getting together with family or friends, medical officers of health for Waterloo region and Guelph have some recommendation on how to stay safe.

Vaccine clinics open over the long weekend in Waterloo region

Smaller groups indoors, wearing a mask and gathering outdoors are some of the ways to stay safe this Easter weekend, said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, medical officer of health for Waterloo region. (Kim Bailey)

If you're planning on getting together with family and friends during the Easter long weekend, the region's medical officer health has some recommendations on how to do it safely.

"As we head into a long weekend, it is important to remember to use the tools available to us to help mitigate risks of COVID-19 infection," said Dr. Hsiu-Lui Wang in a statement.

Those can include having smaller groups indoors and wearing a mask.

Wang said good ventilation and gathering outdoors, if possible, are also good ways to reduce risk of exposure to the virus.

"Also, if you are experiencing any symptoms, it is important to stay home and be aware of how you can help protect others while you may be contagious, even after symptoms begin to improve," she said.

Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum, associate medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, echoes Wang's recommendations and adds that families take advantage of rapid tests if they are available to them.

"COVID is still with us. If you're gathering this weekend, please consider what you can do to protect vulnerable friends, family and neighbours," he said.

Dr. Peter Juni, scientific director of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, also recommends to limit the number of people indoors and if possible, to gather outside, especially if there are vulnerable family members.

"I would be selective right now," he told Ontario Today on Thursday. 

"If the weather is nice, just meet outdoors. That's the best best. It's just so much safer."

Wang adds vaccine clinics will be open over the long weekend for walk-in appointments in Waterloo region for those looking to get vaccinated.