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'When in doubt, rule it out': Health officials provide clarification on holiday gatherings in B.C.

After the province saw a staggering 28 deaths in the past 24 hours, Dix underscored that this Christmas has to be different.
santa-presents-covid-19-vancouver
While the holidays will look different this year, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has it "on very good authority" that the jolly man in red will be immunized and ready for his trip around the world on Christmas Eve--but he'll don a face mask over that beard. Photo via insta_photos / Getty Images

If you're unsure if your holiday plans are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials are clear about what to do: stay home. 

In Thursday's coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters that the intent of the B.C.-wide restrictions is to reduce transmissions that can happen when people have social interactions. 

That said, Henry added that grandparents might be able to join the festivities--provided they regularly care for children in a household. 

"So the bottom line is we want to as much as possible, stick with our household. If your household regularly includes your grandparents as part of caring for children, then you can make that decision about that risk to you to your grandparents," she said.

"But what we don't want is large numbers of people coming together. So if it's you and your sisters and your brothers and their family and their kids. That should not be happening this year."

In large groups, Henry said we bring our risk with us and share it in those close-contact situations, "within our homes, when we're eating, when we're being with people that we love." 

"When in doubt, rule it out."

Health Minister Adrian Dix reinforced Henry's sentiment, stating that British Columbians should stick to a simple motto if they are confused about who they can share the holidays with this year.

"When in doubt, rule it out," he said. 

After the province saw a staggering 28 deaths in the past 24 hours, Dix underscored that this Christmas has to be different. He added that this is a crucial moment in the COVID-19 pandemic, and that everyone has a part to play in keeping the ones they love safe. 

Henry added that it is also a "very challenging time to be on your own during the pandemic" due to isolation. 

For those on their own, B.C.'s top doctor suggests keeping interactions to the minimum, which means individuals should only see a person they see regularly. This means that people will not be able to visit multiple houses this year. 

A Note on Santa Claus 

While the holidays will look different this year, Henry has it "on very good authority" that the jolly man in red will be immunized and ready for his trip around the world on Christmas Eve--but he'll don a face mask over that beard. 

Santa is going to be "very, very careful," explained Henry. Not only will he wear a mask on his magical journey, but he'll also be washing his hands a great deal.

His eight tiny reindeer will be very careful, too. 

Christmas and holiday celebrations

All December celebrations will look different this year. Celebrate with your immediate household or core bubble. 

Core bubble

For most people, their core bubble is their immediate household. An immediate household is a group of people who live in the same dwelling. For example:

  • If you have a rental suite in your home, the suite is a separate household
  • If you live in an apartment or house with roommates, you are all members of the same household

For others, including people who live alone, their core bubble may also contain a partner, relative, friend or co-parent who lives in a different household. This should be a maximum of two people outside of those living in your immediate household.

There are now 40,060 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C. after health officials announced 723 new cases in Thursday's briefing.