Christmas Day for many Canadians this year means fewer people gathered around a twinkling tree tearing open presents, but others say COVID-19 hasn’t changed their holiday plans.
Several provinces have been reporting record-high daily infection counts and health officials have urged people to cut back on gatherings.
They say the fast-spreading Omicron variant is driving the spike.
Quebec reported a new record of just over 10,000 cases on Christmas Eve, and Ontario broke its highest count with nearly 9,571.
British Columbia announced a new high of 2,144 infections and Manitoba broke its record with 742.
Nunavut, with eight infections in several communities, ordered a full lockdown in the territory.
Patricia MacDowell says she wasn’t worried about hosting a Christmas Eve turkey dinner family at her home in Montreal.
MacDowell is unvaccinated and was hosting three vaccinated relatives. But she said doesn’t worry because she’s in good health.
“Literally, last Christmas, we kept all the blinds closed because we didn’t want anyone to see that we were eating dinner because we weren’t allowed,” she said.
“At least now we’ll be able to leave the curtains open. While we eat, we won’t feel like we’re criminals.”
Quebec is allowing groups of 10 to gather for Christmas, but come Boxing Day, gathering sizes will be reduced to six people or two family bubbles. Bars, movie theatres and gyms were ordered to close earlier in the week.
Toronto-based Dr. Naheed Dosani said it’s his duty as a front-line worker to forgo another year of celebrating with family and friends to protect community health.
“We have come so far and sacrificed so much that, at this time, a decision to put a hold on holiday get-together plans is the right thing to do,” he said.