Social circles of up to ten people are now permitted by the Ontario government meaning that people can reunite with their families and loved ones without having to maintain two metres of physical distancing, according to Blog TO.
"Ontarians should think of their circles as the people they can touch, hug and come into close contact as we continue our shared fight against COVID-19," wrote Health Minister Christine Elliott in a statement regarding new government recommendations.
"Not only will social circles help to improve people's mental health and reduce social isolation, they will support rapid case and contact tracing by limiting the number of close contacts, in the event of a case of COVID-19 in that circle," said Dr. Williams.
According to the Ontario government's website, people who wish to form a safe social circle should follow these five simple steps:
- Start with your current circle: the people you live with or who regularly come into your household;
- If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including those from another household, family members or friends;
- Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle;
- Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle; and
- Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.
The good news has prompted many social media users to post photos of themselves reuniting with their families and loved ones.
Mike Layton, a Toronto city councillor posted a photo of his daughter and her grandmother reuniting for the first time in three months.
Television host Tracy Moore posted pictures of herself and her parents reuniting, writing, "Breaking news: WE CAN HUG. In Ontario the social bubble has been expanded to ten people and that meant an immediate visit to squeeze the living crap outta these two. Nothing can replace the smell of your childhood home and the folks who brought you into this world,"
People have been posting videos of the first time they are getting to hug their loved ones since the pandemic first began in March.
The elderly have been the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and were unable to see their kids and grandkids over much of the last three months. As the social distancing regulations begin to loosen, they are now taking advantage of the opportunity to be together.
"At the outset of the pandemic, we had to make the necessary, but difficult decision to ban large public gatherings and strongly advise physical distancing with everyone except immediate household members" said Premier Doug Ford.
"As the public health trends improve and our collective efforts start to pay off, we're now able to take another step forward today by allowing families and their loved ones to reunite and spend time with one another safely through social circles."