Social circles are up to 10 people that can interact without physical distancing. Everyone in a household must be part of the same social circle.
People in the same social circle:
- do not have to physically distance from each other
- can hug and touch each other
- should continue to follow public health advice, including washing/ sanitizing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and keeping their environment clean and disinfected
- should not join more than one social circle
- should continue to physical distance from others outside of their social circle
People may or may not, choose to participate in a social circle depending on their unique circumstance and risk of developing complications from COVID-19, for example people:
- over 70.
- with compromised immune systems.
- with underlying medical conditions.
Social circles are important as they will support the mental health and well-being of Ontarians. They will help to reduce social isolation, will allow some families to get additional support with child care, elder care and other personal needs, and will allow for more rapid contact tracing in the event of a case of COVID-19 in a social circle.
How to Build your Social Circle
The province has put together practical information on the How to Build your Social Circle website to help Ontarians safely develop and join a social circle.
Ontarians 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.
- Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.
Read more details on forming a safe social circle in Ontario's Step-by-Step Guide.
Social gatherings are groups of up to 10 people at a time from outside your household or social circle, but where physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet) must be maintained.
If you choose to get together with others, socialize safely:
- Don’t gather with others if you’re sick.
- Keep 2 metres (6 feet) from those outside your household or social circle.
- Keep your group to no more than 10 people at a time.
- Stay outside if you can.
- Wash/sanitize your hands often.
- Don’t touch your face with unclean hands.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- If you think you were at risk of exposure to COVID-19, call TBDHU to arrange for testing.
Your overall health and well-being is important and social interaction is part of that. Use your social network to support your mental health and well being but be respectful of where other people are at.
Have a conversation with your friends and family about the risks of interacting and agree on guidelines for safety. Think about how you will respond if the guidelines are not being followed. Think about how you will decline an interaction you are not comfortable with. Think about how you will respond without judgement if someone declines a visit that they are not comfortable with.