Celebrations during COVID-19

Please note: Advice regarding celebrations is subject to change, as the pandemic changes within our community. Please check back for updates.

Holidays and celebrations are going to look and feel different during the pandemic. The safest way to spend the holidays this year is by only celebrating in person with the people you live with and celebrating virtually with everyone else. If you live alone, consider exclusively celebrating with one additional household.

  • There are no indoor organized public events and social gatherings permitted currently, except with members of the same household.
  • Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation
  • The limit for outdoor organized public events and social gatherings providing  physical distancing can be maintained is 5 people outdoors.


To protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, we must be mindful of the role we all play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is highly transmissible in social settings. One infected person could cause many people attending the same gathering to become ill. We urge you to be diligent and follow public health guidance. Learn more about your personal risk level.

Consider hosting a virtual holiday gathering this year; set up a phone, tablet or laptop around the dinner table to connect with those who you don’t live with. Hamilton Public Health Services does not recommend hosting an in-person gathering unless you live alone and are getting together with one other household. If those are your circumstances, below are tips to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19:

  • Do not get together with others if you are feeling unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms, are waiting for COVID-19 test results or have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19.
  • Gatherings or events are safer outdoors than indoors. Physical distancing must still be maintained outdoors.
  • Wear a face covering/mask when not eating/drinkingindoors or if you can’t keep physical distance outdoors.
  • Open windows to increase ventilation if safe and feasible.
  • Keep the length of the gathering short. Consider getting together between or after meals.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Always wash hands before and after eating, as well as before and during food preparation.
  • Avoid common food utensils. Bring your own food and utensils.
  • Avoid potlucks, family-style meals (passing food person to person) or buffets. Consider having take-out, pre-portioned food, have guests bring their own food or have one person wearing a mask serve all food to avoid having multiple people share serving utensils.
  • Avoid non-essential travel, especially from higher transmission to lower transmission areas.  Stay and celebrate where you are with the people you have been spending your time with.
  • Use touchless garbage cans if possible. 

COVID Winter Holiday Planning

Alternative ways to celebrate

  • Consider hosting a virtual celebration. Be creative – sing songs, play virtual games, watch a movie together online, or drop off presents on the porch and open together online.
  • Instead of a large family dinner, enjoy an outdoor hike, walk, skate or snowshoe with your loved ones. Remember to physically distance if you are not part of the same household and wear a mask if you can’t keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart. 
  • Attend a drive-in or drive-through event.