This Thanksgiving, like the rest of 2020, will look a bit different as the region and province continues to grapple with a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the holiday is normally a time for friends and family to come together and overindulge in food and drink, city and health officials are urging Londoners to keep celebrations close to home this time around.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit issued new public health guidance on Thursday, cautioning people against travelling to areas experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 case numbers — like the GTA and Ottawa — and encouraging residents to limit their Thanksgiving celebrations to their household only or take festivities online.
The region has seen at least 71 cases of the virus so far this month, and at least 219 since the start of September, a noticeable increase compared to previous months — a fact which prompted Mayor Ed Holder to issue a plea to Londoners on Thursday.
“Please stay home this Thanksgiving. Please, don’t travel out of town. Please, stick to members of your household only. The stakes this coming weekend have never been greater, and we absolutely cannot afford to get this wrong,” he said.
Outside of travel recommendations, the MLHU also reminds residents to wear masks in public spaces, as well as at workplaces and in break rooms.
Londoners looking to bypass the mayor’s appeal by taking Thanksgiving plans outdoors may find the weather less than cooperative, with cloudy skies and possible showers in the cards for Monday, according to Environment Canada.
However, if you find yourself needing to get out of the house for whatever reason on Monday, here’s a list of what’s open and closed in the city that day:
- select Shoppers Drug Mart locations, including 510 Hamilton Rd., 1225 Wonderland Rd. North (Sherwood Forest Mall), and 1224 Commissioners Rd. West in Byron.
- all Rexall locations, excluding 1551 Dundas St. E.
- Labatt Retail Store will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
- East Park (mini golf and driving range only)
- Fanshawe Pioneer Village
- the city’s two assessment centres, located at Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, will be open with their regular hours
- some restaurants may be open, but you will want to call ahead to check
- movie theatres, excluding Imagine Cinemas in Citi Plaza
- only the YMCA’s Bostwick and Stoney Creek branches are open Monday
- shopping malls including Masonville Place, Westmount Shopping Centre, and White Oaks Mall
- grocery stores including Loblaws, Farm Boy, Food Basics, FreshCo, Metro, NoFrills, Real Canadian Superstore, Sobeys, and Valu-Mart
- most Shoppers Drug Mart locations excluding the ones listed above
- all LCBO locations
- all Beer Store locations, excluding 414 Wharncliffe Rd. S., whose drive-thru will be open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
- banks and credit unions
- both Costco locations
- government offices, including city administrative offices
- post offices — there will also be no mail delivery
The city’s two assessment centres will be up and operational on the holiday Monday, according to officials with Thames Valley Family Health Team, who operates the centres alongside the London Health Sciences Centre.
As of this week, Oakridge Arena is operating on a phone-ahead appointment system, while Carling Heights continues to operate with a time card system that allows people to attend the centre and come back at a later time to get tested.
Both centres are prioritizing certain individuals.
To book an appointment at Oakridge, call 519-667-6886 and follow the prompt, leaving your name, call-back number and reason for the test. The health unit says people should get a call back within two business days.
London Transit service will be operational on Monday, with special schedules for the following routes: 1, 3, 5, 7, 12, 15, 16, 24, and 35.
All other routes will be on a holiday schedule, while routes 28, 30, 33, 36, 37, and 51, the community bus, will not be operating.
For those thinking of heading to the downtown, free two-hour parking in the core has been extended until the end of the year at municipal parking lots and on-street parking metres. The initiative can be utilized by using the code “B2B20” on the HonkMobile app and website.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village will be open throughout the weekend, and will mark its final day of regular public programming on Thanksgiving Monday.
Those feeling generous are also able to donate to the London Food Bank’s Thanksgiving food drive which runs until Monday.
— With files from Jacquelyn LeBel and Sawyer Bogdan. Did we miss something? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-931-6098 to let us know.