Dr. Hinshaw: Individuals living alone granted one-event visiting exemption over Christmas holiday period

Changes to provincial health restrictions mean that single Albertans are now permitted to attend a single social gathering at another household between December 23 and December 28. 

“This approach strives to balance mental wellness for individuals living alone and the need to limit COVID-19 spread,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. 

A household may host a maximum of two people who live alone, not including minors, and only one event over that period, Hinshaw said. 

Hinshaw reminded hosts to protect the health of people who are at high risk, including those over age 65 or those with a chronic conscious, by: 

maintaining two meters of distance 
providing hand sanitizer, and 
considering asking others not typically in contact with the person to wear a mask when distancing is not possible.

Other social gathering restrictions remain

The time-specific exemption for singles does not change any of the other restrictions on social gatherings and business operations announced earlier this month. 

Premier Jason Kenney defended the decision. 

“If we were to gather in typical large extended family gatherings over the Christmas holidays—beginning with 800 people in hospital—there is absolutely no doubt that we would lose all of the progress that we have made in recent weeks,” Kenney said.

“Please do everything you can to avoid turning Christmas into a super spreader event that could have a devastating impact on the lives and health of thousands of your fellow Albertans.” 

Vaccines for Edmonton

The Premier said 25,350 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have arrived in the province, and will be given to critical long-term care and health care workers who work on the front lines. Edmonton and Calgary will each get 6,825 doses. 

As of December 21, some 3,074 heath care workers have been vaccinated in Alberta

Mental health

The news about the singles-visiting exemption came as the City of Edmonton shared two new resources to help dent feelings of dread and isolation delivered by the pandemic. 

The first is a planned series of videos with the Edmonton Public Library called Random Acts of Connection. The series debuted with advice from University of Alberta Education Professor Denise Larsen on how to keep hope in focus. 

As well, the City is curating a selection of #HolidayHibernation lists to connect people online with some of the things people love to do at this time of year. Not the Best Of lists that are routine at year’s end. Instead, lists of other fun stuff from fun folks. 

Orissa Sabourin, who is the manager/curator Royal Alberta Museum shop, shared her Top 10 list of songs for singers with down time to practise until the karaoke scene re-opens. 

“We were thinking about what we could do to help Edmontonians feel connected through what might be a lonely and tough time for a lot of people,” said Alison Turner, an Account Director with the City of Edmonton. 

“We asked people for their holiday hibernation hits,” Turner said. “We hope people will get some fun ideas, enjoy reading the lists and share their ideas with us.”

Follow the #HolidayHibernation lists on the City of Edmonton’s Twitter page.

Editor’s note: For those of a certain vintage, it’s good to see that the Blondie version still cuts it for Heart of Glass, considering that Debbie Harry and Chris Stein wrote it! ❤️ Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings to all. Be safe, be kind.