Ontarians Now Able to Establish Social Circles

Ontarians are being invited by the provincial government to establish a social circle of no more than 10 people. The move comes on the advice of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams to help support mental health.

“As the public health trends improve and our collective efforts start to pay off, we’re now able to take another step forward today by allowing families and their loved ones to reunite and spend time with one another safely through social circles,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said. The province lifted the raised the maximum gathering from five to 10 people earlier this week.

“Ontarians should think of their circles as the people they can touch, hug and come into close contact as we continue or shared fight against COVID-19,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. Social gatherings can be any 10 people from outside your household who maintain a 2 meter distance, while social circles will allow people to enjoy close contact without the physical distancing.

The provincial government outlines five steps to form a social circle:

  1. Start with your current circle: the people you live with or who regularly come into your household;
  2. If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including those from another household, family members or friends;
  3. Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle;
  4. Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle; and
  5. Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.

“Not only will social circles help to improve people’s mental health and reduce social isolation, they will support rapid case and contact tracing by limiting the number of close contacts, in the event of a case of COVID-19 in that circle,” said Dr. Williams. Late last month, the province loosened the testing criteria opening up the 145 assessment centres to anyone who thought they had symptoms. The province completed over 28 thousand tests as of today, and recorded another 182 new cases.