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Kingston prepares for second COVID-19 pandemic Thanksgiving weekend

Mayor Brian Keating says there is "an anticipation of more positives as contact tracing is ongoing" in Marystown, NL. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

With the second Thanksgiving to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic coming up, many may be wondering if they’ll able to gather in larger groups, and if they do, whether masks must be worn.

The chair of infectious diseases at Queen’s University offers some tips, and says this year’s celebrations can be close to normal.

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According to Dr. Gerald Evans, an infectious disease specialist with Queen’s University, the holiday can be spent with friends and family, given everyone is fully inoculated.

“If everybody’s fully vaccinated, I think there’s a general recommendation that you may not even need to wear masks — assuming that you’ve also made sure that nobody’s showed up who has symptoms that may suggest they have COVID,” Evans said.

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Local food agencies are also preparing for a safe Thanksgiving.

“We are cooking for almost double our usual amount,” said Ronda Candy managing director of Martha’s Table, a local food kitchen.

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But, instead of having an in-dining experience for the holiday, Candy says the kitchen is working on delivering the meals this year.

That means 500 meals will be ready for take-out only and volunteers will also be bringing food to those registered on their delivery program.

With cases considerably under control compared with last fall — KFL&A Public Health is reporting 32 active cases as of Wednesday — Evans says travelling outside of eastern Ontario to areas previously off-limits, like the Toronto area, now poses little threat.

Click to play video: 'Ontario medical officer suggests vaccinated individuals do not have to mask for Thanksgiving'
Ontario medical officer suggests vaccinated individuals do not have to mask for Thanksgiving

“You know they’re fully vaccinated, you’re fully vaccinated, everybody’s asymptomatic and you’ve had some interactions with them, family members — there’s probably not a lot of harm necessarily travelling to those areas,” he said.

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But we’re not in the clear from the threat of the Delta variant just yet, which is why Evans suggests people don’t increase contacts they gather with.

He says keeping your social circle to family and friends that you know and trust helps limit the spread of COVID-19.

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