KITCHENER -- The Region of Waterloo issued a statement Sunday, asking residents to follow the provincial COVID-19 recommendations for gatherings over the holidays.

The request comes as Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce a province-wide lockdown beginning on Boxing Day, and lasting for four weeks in southern Ontario.

The lockdown was originally set to begin on Dec. 24 but was pushed back two days by cabinet on Monday, the sources said.

The statement by public health officials reads, in part: “With the recent approval and first administration of a COVID-19 vaccine, we can understand how it may feel like things are coming to an end and that holiday celebrations may be ‘okay.’ While this is great news and a light at the end of the tunnel, we cannot let our guards down.”

“We want to be clear. No matter where you live the upcoming holidays are not the time to hold social gathering in person, inside or outside, with anyone outside your household.”

The statement was not just signed by the Region of Waterloo, but in partnership with other health units in Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, Niagara Region and Windsor-Essex.

They’re asking all residents to follow these four guidelines:

  • No social gathering indoors or outdoors, even with close family members, friends or people you trust (including holiday celebrations, play dates, birthday or dinner parties)
  • Anyone who lives alone and/or requires support may join one other household
  • Wear a mask and maintain a two-metre (or six-foot) distance from anyone who doesn’t live with you
  • Stay at home unless you need to leave for essential reasons (going to school or work, getting groceries or takeout, picking up medication or attending medical appointments)

They say the actions taken over the next few weeks are important in determining what happens in January.

The statement concludes with the following: “We know it has been a stressful and difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic causing uncertainty and losses in our communities and in all aspects of our lives. We thank you for your resilience and support for each other during these difficult times.”