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GTHA Mayors and Chairs urge residents to celebrate Diwali safely by following public health advice

HAMILTON, ON - Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their weekly call on the ongoing response to COVID-19.

In the continuing cooperative spirit that has characterized their dealings throughout the pandemic, the Mayors and Chairs compared experiences with the pandemic in the past week and discussed the implications of the new provincial framework and the implications for local conditions.

The Mayors and Chairs agreed that we would undertake a special communication initiative to encourage those celebrating Diwali to do it in a way that was consistent with public health advice. This engagement is important given the large number of people in the GTHA who celebrate Diwali and the fact that like Easter and Thanksgiving, family and community gatherings are a popular feature of the celebrations, something we are discouraging for this pandemic year. The Mayors and Chairs urged residents celebrating Diwali to avoid gathering with people they don't live with and invite others to join virtually.

“During this challenging time, we must celebrate Diwali differently to help protect our families, loved ones and our community. This year, please remember that the safest way to celebrate Diwali is to do so virtually and to keep gatherings to only those within your household. We must all take the necessary the steps to prevent further spread of COVID-19 to ensure we can safely celebrate the Festival of Lights together next year.”

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger

In that context and beyond, the Mayors and Chairs wanted to remind the public that in their municipalities there is still a formal declared State of Emergency which indicates the assessment each municipality has made of the multiple threats still posted by COVID-19. We hope reflection on this will lead to even more determined compliance with public health advice in light of concerning case counts in many places.