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Invited to an indoor Christmas party? Walk away, mayor urges

'I ask the community to make a sacrifice this holiday season'
2020-04-06 Christian Provenzano COVID DH
Mayor Christian Provenzano leaves an almost-empty pandemic Civic Centre for an almost-empty parking lot after a virtual City Council meeting on Monday, April 6, 2020. David Helwig/SooToday

Pointing to an increase in COVID-19 cases after Halloween, Mayor Christian Provenzano is urging Saultites to stay away from Christmas parties if they're indoor and include people from different households.

"I've noticed recently on social media, a lot of understandable activity around the Christmas season, where people are going to Christmas parties and socializing with one another," the mayor said at the beginning of a virtual City Council budget meeting last night.

"Although I understand why this is occurring, I really want to take the opportunity to ask the community to refrain from social gatherings with people outside of your own household in closed-door settings."

"I think we now know that one of the most significant COVID risks is when people from different households get together at an indoor setting and spend time together in close proximity to one another."

"We saw a spike in our cases post-Halloween and I expect that if we continue to socialize significantly with those people who live outside of our households, we'll see another increase in our cases."

"It's critically important to keep the kids in our community safe, all the kids that we have in daycares and schools, and all the seniors in our community safe. All the people that are living in retirement homes, and each other safe, that we follow public health advice."

"Public health is asking us to minimize socialization outside of our own households. They're asking us to wear a mask when we're indoors with people who are not in our own households."

"They're asking us to keep physically distant from people that we do not reside with, when we're out and about."

"It's hard to do those things if we gather for holiday gatherings over the holiday season."

"I ask the community, even though it's a significant sacrifice, to make a sacrifice this holiday season."

"Hopefully by next holiday season we'll be able to spend a lot of time together and we will be well past this and have a lot to celebrate," the mayor said.

The mayor also talked last night about the weekend passing of former Mayor Ron Irwin.

"Ron was a giant in our community," Provenzano said.

"He held a lot of different offices and he served our community and our country well for decades."

In September, the Civic Centre was officially renamed after Irwin, who served as a member of Parliament, as federal minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, as Canada's ambassador to Ireland and as a personal advisor to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

In 1975, Irwin was made a member of the Order of Canada.