Finally, clear direction for Thanksgiving in Toronto: stick to your household

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Laying out seating arrangements, how many different kinds of stuffing to prepare and ensuring there's enough pumpkin pie for everyone should be seriously scaled back this year in Toronto, according to the city's chief medical officer of health. 

Dr. Eileen de Villa said Monday that Torontonians should limit Thanksgiving to those in their households and those who live alone, should join loved ones virtually. 

"I would far rather we change one Thanksgiving for safety's sake than look back at Thanksgiving 2020 with enormous regret," she said, as Toronto continues to grapple with increase cases and a change to contact tracing, only focusing on the most high-risk cases.

Mayor John Tory said it's not worth it this year to put the health of family members at risk. 

"The best way to be thankful this year is to follow public health advice, which in many cases, unfortunately, will mean not seeing those family members," he said, while echoing what the prime minister said recently about how the next big holiday could be salvaged. 

"If we comply with public health advice at Thanksgiving, there's a much better chance for a more normal Christmas celebration and Christmas isn't that far away." 

Ontario reported 615 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, including 289 in Toronto, with a backlog of over 68,000 tests. 

Premier Doug Ford said the province is facing a shortage of diagnostic technicians, along with a global shortage of the chemicals needed to process the tests. 

This comes after recent changes at assessment centres, including no longer accepting walk-ins and instead moving to an appointment-based system. 

Ford also reacted forcefully to de Villa's request last week, that the province grant the city's call to prohibit indoor dining and indoor fitness classes and team sports for the next four weeks. 

"I want to exhaust every single avenue before I ruin someone's life, it's easy to go in there and say I'm just shutting down everything," he said. "Show me the evidence, hard, hard concrete evidence." 

"We'll do it in 10 seconds, but show me more evidence."

De Villa said in response that Toronto Public Health has continuously provided its daily case data and qualitative evidence around outbreaks, such as 44 per cent of community outbreaks between Sept. 20 and 26th occurring in restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

"I'm having conversations with them and certainly answering any questions that they may have, if there are further questions, that will have to come from them and of course I'm happy to provide as much as we can," she said.