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MLHU urging people to rethink long weekend plans and stay home amid COVID-19

The Easter Bunny is practicing social distancing, and so should you, was the message Mayor of London Ed Holder had for residents in the lead up to the long weekend.
The Easter Bunny is practicing social distancing, and so should you, was the message Mayor of London Ed Holder had for residents in the lead up to the long weekend. File / Getty Images

The Easter Bunny is practicing social distancing and so should you.

That was the message Mayor of London Ed Holder had for residents in the lead-up to the long weekend.

“The Easter Bunny will be physically distancing from folks as he delivers chocolate from home to home, and that’s an important example because on Ontario’s side we are asking Londoners to continue to practice physical distancing,” Holder told Londoners during the daily COVID-19 briefing.

Holder’s remarks come after Premier Doug Ford added the Easter Bunny to the list of essential services earlier this week, ensuring children across Ontario will still get their holiday chocolate.

READ MORE: More families relying on London Food Bank amid COVID-19

The Middlesex-London Health Unit is advising people against travelling for the Passover and Easter weekend, given the developing situation of COVID-19.

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“This is a time when many families gather, many people travel to cottages, and in a normal year, it would be a time for a lot of intimate contact between people,” said Dr. Chris Mackie Londons, Chief Medical Officer of Health and CEO of the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

“We are asking people to very seriously reconsider plans to gather family or to go to your cottage.”

Mackie is reminding those thinking of visiting family that elderly relatives are the ones most at risk and that even though you may not feel sick, you could spread the virus without knowing.

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In keeping with physical distancing, Mackie is recommending people find other ways to connect with loved ones instead, like hosting a virtual easter dinner.

Among the health unit’s suggestions for maintaining social connection while being physically distant are: setting up video calls to participate in Easter egg hunts and other activities or inviting family members and grandparents for a virtual Seder or Easter dinner.

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Some local churches and synagogues are also making the switch to online options for worshippers observing the holidays.

Rick Boyes with Gateway Church said they will be offering Easter services on Facebook and YouTube on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday

“We are going to celebrate together, and we are encouraging people to get their own symbols of the blood and body of Christ.”

After making the switch online, Boyes said those in their church had a positive response to the change.

“It’s like the church is getting reborn again. We are discovering what’s truly important that it’s not about the building, the church is about people.”

READ MORE: 8 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death, 17 recoveries in London-Middlesex; total now 170

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On Wednesday night, those in the Jewish faith started celebrating Passover.

Rabbi Debra Dressler said the day is the most celebrated holiday for the entire Jewish community.

Talking about how people are celebrating the holiday, Dressler said she had mixed feeling about not being with all of her family.

“It was an opportunity to gather with different people that I might not have if I had to physically travel, [but] at the same time it meant the loss of the familiars and family that I have celebrated with for a decade.”

Dressler said grandchildren have been sending their grandparents tablets to get them connected with family online but added it could be hard for those who don’t have a way to connect.

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The London Police Service is also joining health officials in urging people to stay home.

“This was definitely not how I planned to spend my Easter weekend, but it’s important that we all stay home in order to save lives,” said Chief Steve Williams

As of Thursday, the Middlesex London Health Unit reported a total of 170 COVID-19 cases in the region, with 48 cases now resolved and a total of 8 deaths.