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How to celebrate Easter and Passover during the pandemic. Your COVID-19 questions answered

We're answering your questions about the pandemic. Send yours to COVID@cbc.ca and we’ll answer as many as we can. We’ll publish a selection of answers every weekday online, and also put some questions to the experts during The National and on CBC News Network.

From having people over, to delivering food to family, here's what you’re asking us today.

Easter and Passover, which often involve family gatherings, are mostly being celebrated over video calling during the pandemic as Canadians continue to practise physical distancing. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

We're breaking down what you need to know about the pandemic. Send your questions to COVID@cbc.ca and we'll answer as many as we can. We'll publish a selection of answers every weekday online, and also put some of your questions to the experts during The National and on CBC News Network.  

Many Canadians want to come together for Passover and Easter, but we're supposed to stay apart. Today, we're answering your questions about how to celebrate during the pandemic — whether it's sharing a family meal, or safely bringing meals to older relatives, we've got you covered.

Can we have another couple over for Easter dinner if they and we are in good health?

Anne C. is wondering, "if everyone seems healthy, can we still get together for dinner?" The short answer is, no. 

Physical distancing means:

  •  Not interacting with anyone outside your household, including immediate family members and significant others who don't live with you.
  • Avoiding crowded places and gatherings.
  • Trying to avoid getting too close anyone else, and when you do leave your house — a minimum of two metres or two arms' lengths is generally recommended in Canada and required by some city bylaws.

The good news is that it seems to be working. Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says all these efforts "are making a difference so far," because it's allowing the health-care system to cope. But Tam warned during the Easter and Passover weekend, "we need to not let down our guard. The safest plan for your holidays is a staycation for the nation." 

Here are more answers to questions about physical distancing 

Can my family meet up at the farm yard, and picnic together? 

Barry H's is wondering whether he can mark Easter with his loved ones if they meet outside. 

Unfortunately any religious celebrations this year will have to be "strictly limited to your existing household members only," says Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer.

He says staying home and physical distancing is making a difference. And he cautions that, "during important religious services we must not let our guard down." 

So unless you already share a household, do not have family over, even to picnic in the yard. 

But do reach out to each other over phone, text or video chat. As Njoo says, "connecting has never been so important." 

Can I take a home-cooked turkey dinner to my parents and in-laws this weekend? 

Like Darlene, many Canadians are hoping they can still share food with loved ones.

While one recent study suggests the coronavirus persists on many surfaces, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says "there is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission." The bigger concern is how the food is delivered, says infectious disease specialist Dr. Lynora Saxinger in Edmonton.

"To me, it's all about the plating and the handling of the packaging, not the food itself," she said, since the virus is more likely live on those surfaces, if at all. 

Can I safely cook or bake? Doctors answer your question on The National

Keeping the faith during the pandemic

One in five Canadians say they or someone close to them have been supported by a faith institution since the outbreak began, according to a new Angus Reid Institute survey. Maybe that's why virtual services including online mass, Zoom prayer groups and religious apps are the most popular way to connect during the pandemic, according to the survey.

We're also answering your questions every night on The National. Last night, you asked our doctors: Can you catch COVID-19 from being in the 'wake' of someone running or biking:

Doctors answer your questions including whether you can catch COVID-19 from being in the 'wake' of someone running or biking. 2:51

Thursday we answered questions about beards and serology tests. Read here.

Keep your questions coming by emailing us at COVID@cbc.ca.

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