Celebrating Holidays Safely During COVID-19

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Past COVID-19 Advisories

Enjoy time with friends and family while keeping safe


YELLOWKNIFE (October 6, 2020) – Celebrating holidays with family and close friends is important for our mental health and social well-being.

During a pandemic, we need to be aware of the role we all play in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here is some advice for getting together, while staying safe.


  • If you are feeling unwell, even if your symptoms are minor, cancel your get-together and look at other ways to connect which are not in-person.
  • Remind guests who are not feeling well to stay home and connect virtually instead.
  • If you are required to self-isolate, don’t host others. Ask guests who are required to self-isolate to not attend and connect virtually instead.
  • Remember the NWT’s gathering limits:
    • Five additional at your home, up to a maximum of 10 people indoors at any time
    • 25 at public indoor spaces (i.e. community OR banquet halls) with physical distancing and hand-washing measures in-place.
    • Up to 50 outdoors with physical distancing and hand-washing.

For safe, mindful hosting

  • It’s best to keep visitors to your Friendship Circle at your house.  
  • Set your table and chairs for physical distancing if you can between people from different cohorts.
  • When deciding where to host, use the home or facility that offers the greatest space possible with the highest ceilings and best ventilation.
  • Ensure proper cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces, shared items and dishes. Our enhanced cleaning checklist can help.
  • Have hand sanitizer, hand soap and alcohol wipes available for guests to sanitize their hands at common touch points, and encourage its use by all prior to eating.
  • Consider virtual options like video calls or video-sharing to keep your physical circle small, while staying connected with many.
  • Ask your guests if taking extra precautions would make them feel safer and do what you can to accommodate them.
  • Try to limit who you spend time with two weeks before – especially if your plans include those at higher-risk. Encourage your guests to do the same.
  • If you have guests who had to stay home because they weren’t feeling well, consider delivering a “doggie bag” to their doorstep to help them feel more connected to the group.
  • If you’re holding an event at a hall, or you may have guests cycling in-and-out, it’s a good idea to keep track of everyone who has attended on your phone, laptop, or a piece of paper and hold on to it for at least 14 days for contact tracing purposes.


  • Everyone should wash their hands before and after a meal.
  • Seat higher-risk guests in places where they can keep more distance from others, while still participating in the fun.
  • Have a designated carver and server to keep sharing food without sharing germs.
  • Avoid sharing glasses or cutlery.  

If you are travelling

  • Stay up to date with developments related to COVID-19 in areas you are visiting.
  • Be aware of local quarantine requirements and/or travel restrictions if travelling out of country or province.
  • Limit your contacts in the two weeks prior to returning to NWT from travel
  • Remember to submit your self-isolation plan as early as you can to prepare for your return.

Visiting friends and family in care

  • If you plan on visiting a family member who is in a continuing care or hospital setting, make sure you understand the facility’s visitor policies. The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority provides guidelines for these facilities. Non-medical masks are mandatory.
  • If you are feeling unwell, even with minor symptoms, you must not visit.
  • Maintain physical distance from other visitors at all times unless you live in the same household.
  • Contact the facility where your friend or family member lives before visiting to make sure you understand the rules and prevention measures in-place.


All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories.

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