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Cancelled fireworks, some closed beaches, socially distant barbeques … No, this probably isn’t going to be the Canada Day we were all hoping to enjoy. But even though Covid-19 has changed how we get together this year, we can still celebrate Canada Day with our family, friends, and neighbors if we follow some safety tips.

1. Rethink your travel plans.

Governments via their health care experts are still recommending against non-essential travel for work or medical reasons. A Canada Day road trip could mean pit stops at gas stations, public restrooms, and restaurants, all of which increase your opportunities to spread or catch Covid-19. Moving your laptop into the backyard for a virtual group cookout could be your safest and least stressful option this year. 

If you do still plan to hit the road, check your route for any construction or detours and try to plan out your stops in advance. Most communities now recommend wearing a face mask in shared public places. Everyone should wash their hands before getting back in the car.

2. Handle fireworks responsibly.

You might not be able to lie on a blanket and watch colors popping overhead this year, but fireworks are still going to be a big part of July 1st celebrations. Canada Day celebrations will be much more virtual this year. 

Backyard fireworks are sure to be more popular this year as well. However, legally purchased fireworks can be a fire and personal safety hazard. Even the “harmless” sparklers we sometimes hand off to children can burn hot enough to melt metal. Only ignite fireworks at a safe distance from other people, your home, and nearby structures like fences or trees. And always keep a bucket of water nearby, just in case.

3. Break up your backyard.

In Ontario, groups of 10 can assemble with precautions or your Social Bubble with reduced precautions. Regardless, your cookout will need some tweaks this year if you plan to share space with people outside your household. Consider sending your guests a list of ground rules ahead of time.

Use chairs, cones, or other markers to designate areas in your yard or driveway for each family. Instead of serving food buffet-style, portion out meals in disposable containers, or ask guests to bring their own food and beverages. If you’re comfortable letting people into your house one at a time, clean a bathroom near a door, stock it with hand sanitizer or disposable paper towels, and ask guests to wipe down high-contact surfaces like countertops and doorknobs when they’re finished. And even at a six-foot distance, wearing a face mask when you’re not eating, or drinking can help everyone keep their germs to themselves.

4. Make the best choices for your family.

If you do attend public events or fireworks, be mindful of health and hygiene best practices. Face masks, physical distancing, and lots of hand washing can help keep you and your loved ones safe. Also consider if attending an event could put older family members or anyone with a pre-existing medical condition at risk of infection, or if young children might struggle with social distancing once they spot a playground.

We’ve spent 2020 living with quarantine and so many other restrictions on our daily lives. Canada Day gives us a much-needed opportunity to celebrate our country, our freedoms, and our loved ones. Whether you’re adapting summer traditions or starting new ones this year, we hope you stay safe and have fun.

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