How to Plan a COVID-19 Safe Thanksgiving

COVID face masks surrounded by pumpkins

Residents Encouraged to Stay Home, Stay Local, and Know the Risks

As Thanksgiving approaches, Peterborough Public Health is providing recommendations to help residents plan a safe and healthy holiday.

“With COVID-19 still present in our community and in other provincial hotspots, we strongly recommend celebrating Thanksgiving only with those in your household, and avoid travelling outside the region,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Connecting with others of course is what this holiday is all about, so for family and friends outside your household, we encourage you to do so virtually or outdoors.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted it’s helpful to know which activities are lower or moderate risk, and advises the following:

For a lower risk Thanksgiving:

  • Stay home.
  • Stay local.
  • Plan an indoor celebration with household contacts only.
  • If planning to visit with family and friends, keep it outdoors, stay within gathering limits and stay at least 2 metres apart. Add face coverings when moving about, but remember, they are not an excuse to get close! Physical distancing and masks must work together to be effective.
  • Connect with family and friends virtually.

The following activities are considered moderate risk:

  • If your household will include any students or family members who are not usually part of your bubble, have them practice hand hygiene, wear a face covering indoors and keep at least 2 metres distance, especially while eating or drinking.
  • Ensure food is plated individually by someone who is symptom-free and knowledgeable in safe food handling. Do not share food and beverages buffet or family style.
  • Before anyone comes in your home, check to make sure they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and have not been identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.
  • Do not participate in social gatherings, including religious services, if you are sick, have recently travelled outside of Peterborough to an area with a high rate of transmission, are awaiting testing results, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Dr. Salvaterra asked those who are travelling from Peterborough to a higher-risk area for Thanksgiving, to limit contacts and take precautions including hand hygiene, physical distancing and ensuring face coverings are used indoors. “When you return to Peterborough, self-monitor for symptoms and limit your number of contacts for 14 days by avoiding gatherings, staying home, and using curbside pickup for shopping. If you become ill, self-isolate immediately and seek testing,” she added.

Peterborough Public Health would also like to remind residents to follow important safe food handling practices. These include:

  • Keeping refrigeration temperatures below 4?C, freezer below 18?C.
  • Store all meat in a pan on the lowest shelf in the fridge to prevent spills and contamination with other food.
  • Thaw frozen meat in the fridge or under cold, running water.
  • Review recommended internal cooking temperatures before you begin cooking.
  • Test the internal temperature of the meat with a probe thermometer at the thickest part but away from the bone.

For more safe food handling tips please visit


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence

Communications Manager

705-743-1000, ext. 391