The divide between those who have had the jab and those who haven’t may start hitting close to home in Manitoba as new COVID-19 rules target gatherings involving unvaccinated people.
The new public health orders, which go into effect Tuesday, Oct. 5, mean some families will have to decide between a large Thanksgiving dinner with a fully vaccinated group or a smaller turkey dinner with an unvaccinated guest.
Luckily, Gerald McMillan won’t have to make that call as everyone on his guest list has already had two shots.
“Everybody’s double vaccinated, everybody’s raring to go,” he said.
Ken Dufault, who is hosting Thanksgiving at the cabin, said he wasn’t planning on getting together with unvaccinated guests, regardless of what the province says. He and his wife have only been attending events where vaccination is a requirement.
“People that aren’t vaccinated know that they’re not going to be attending any type of event at our place,” he said.
Dufault said he hasn’t received any pushback from the people he’s had those conversations with.
Megan Delmonte, however, is dreading the uncomfortable conversations.
Although she would like to see all her friends and family sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine, she understands some will not listen to her and it’s not in her personality to exclude people from social gatherings.
“It’s hard,” Delmonte said. “You kind of get stuck in the middle.”
Her boyfriend, Adriane Dizon, added that he doesn’t want anybody to “feel left out.”
Under the new rules, indoor household gatherings will be limited to guests from one other household when an unvaccinated person who is eligible for the shots is on the property.
Households will also be limited to 10 guests outdoors when an unvaccinated person who is eligible is present.
“This is going to be very challenging to enforce, it will be challenging for friends and family to have these kinds of conversations,” Winnipeg epidemiologist Cynthia Carr said.
Carr isn’t convinced everyone will be eager to follow the orders.
“I’m challenged to believe that people will necessarily follow these rules,” she said.
“If there are reasons that people are not vaccinated that include mistrust of government, not believing the virus is real, not understanding the risks involved — it would be challenging for me then to think that that group of people would then be a) open to the conversation of disclosing their vaccine status, or b) really worry that much about it.”
Carr said it’s unfortunate that new restrictions are being implemented at a time when vaccines are widely available, but all available strategies need to be considered to contain the fourth wave.
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