New COVID-19 holiday guidelines lead to tough decisions

Ontarians are now faced with tough holiday decisions after Premier Doug Ford announced new guidelines Wednesday.

Province said Wednesday it's strongly recommending people celebrate with own household

A file photo of a woman shopping for Christmas decorations. Many will have a different looking Christmas this year as Ontario advised people to celebrate the holidays within their households. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

New COVID-19 directives from the Ontario government about how people should celebrate the holidays have some changing their plans, while others are forging ahead.

On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford urged people to celebrate with only those people in their households, adding that those who live alone can join one other household. The announcement came as the province saw another 1,373 cases of COVID-19 and 35 more deaths.

The news meant a hard decision for Ottawa area resident Kevin Farrell, who usually celebrates with his adult children at a restaurant each year. But he said since those children live in two different households he can't see them together, and couldn't pick only one to visit.

"I'm extremely disappointed," Farrell said. The decision was made even harder by some good news he received this year. 

"On November 11, I became a grandfather for the first time. I haven't been able to hold my grandson yet and I was really looking forward to that … It looks like that's not going to happen."

Kevin Farrell hasn't gotten to hold his grandson, pictured here, and says he probably won't be able to this Christmas. (Twitter)

Coming home despite warnings

Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches urged residents Wednesday to keep travel to a minimum and avoid going from areas with higher case numbers to places with lower. 

But that warning doesn't sit well with Carlos Verde, who's still planning to come home to Ottawa from Toronto for the holidays.

Carlos Verde lives in Toronto but will be returning to Ottawa for Christmas after he quarantines. (submitted by Carlos Verde)

"It's kind of hard to stomach this idea that it's been fine to go home the last eight months," he said. "At a time when mental health is nosediving, as we go into winter and stuff — when people really need to kind of have some family face time ... now you're telling us that all of a sudden we can't go home."

Verde said he has been following the rules throughout the pandemic by keeping his bubble to just his roommate, working in an isolated office away from co-workers and he plans to quarantine before returning home.

He said his family will be isolating before too in order to ensure their visit is safe.

About the Author

Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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