Restoring Safe Services

Guidelines for Hosting and Attending Celebrations and Ceremonies

As Manitoba eases restrictions and reopens the economy in a phased approach, the benefits of reopening need to be balanced with the risks of increased COVID-19 transmission. Celebrations and ceremonies have mental and emotional health benefits. As we begin to allow these organized activities to operate again, we need thoughtful planning to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

This guidance will help participants and organizers/those responsible for planning these events. Consider the risks associated with ceremonies and celebrations in Manitoba during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides examples of strategies that may be implemented to reduce potential risks.

Event facilities, planners and hosts of upcoming celebrations, including weddings, graduations and celebrations of life (i.e., wakes and funerals), should consider the potential that public health orders around gathering size are subject to change. Therefore, consideration should be given to canceling or postponing events upcoming in the next few months. (Note: there will be no large gatherings or events until at least September 2020).

If you choose to hold your event, the event must adhere to the current public health orders on gathering sizes, with preference given to holding your event outdoors to further minimize the risk. Where possible, multiple ceremonies may be needed depending on the size of the group (e.g., hold separate graduation ceremonies with numbers dependent on graduating class size and their companions).

Note: separate guidance for First Nations ceremonial and spiritual practices is being developed and will be available here.  

The following guidelines should be followed by event planners, hosts and attendees:

  • People are reminded to stay home if they are feeling unwell, even if their symptoms are mild (visit for a list of symptoms).
  • Discourage attendance for people at higher risk of experiencing severe illness. Virtual options should continue to be made available for those who cannot attend in-person.
  • Consider creative options to hosting in-person ceremonies or celebrations, such as vehicle parades, “drive-in” vehicle ceremonies or “drive-up” vehicle ceremonies where each attendee and their household has a designated time to “drive-up” and participate in a ceremony (e.g., graduate receives their diploma). Outdoor drive-in events should follow applicable guidelines.
  • People socializing in-person together are advised to physically distance themselves from members outside of their household, except for brief necessary exchanges. Traditional greetings such as handshakes, kissing and hugging should be avoided. As has always been the case, members of the same household do not need to physically distance from each other.
  • Maintain a single point of entry and ensure that physical distancing is maintained. Line-ups and areas where people congregate (e.g., bar area, washrooms) should be monitored to ensure attendees maintain a physical distance of two metres/ six feet. Floor markers may be installed to help attendees with maintaining separation and signs should be posted to remind attendees.
  • Post external signs indicating COVID-19 physical distancing protocols. 
  • Ensure hand hygiene stations are available at entry and throughout the facility.
  • Seating arrangements should allow for a two metre/six foot separation between chairs (members of the same household do not need to sit two metres/ six feet apart). When standing at events, a two metre/six foot separation is also required for non-household members.
  • Food services should follow applicable restaurant guidelines. Grouped meals continue to be discouraged as part of Phase Two. Onsite snack bars and other buffet-style counters should be closed. Do not have items such as salt/pepper shakers, condiments, wine bottles or water jugs on the table to be shared between attendees. Do not refill drinks.
  • Consider alternatives to traditional celebratory activities, such as a bouquet/garter toss.  
  • Maintain lists of attendees for 21 days to ensure appropriate public health follow-up can take place if an attendee is exposed to COVID-19 during the celebration or ceremony.
  • Dance floors should remain closed.
  • Live bands (e.g., singing, musical instruments) should follow applicable guidelines.
  • All common-touch surfaces must be frequently cleaned and sanitized with Health Canada approved disinfectants that kill viruses, including coronaviruses. Washrooms must also have frequent cleaning and sanitization.
  • Shared equipment (e.g., microphones, speakers) must be cleaned/disinfected frequently and after each use. If shared equipment cannot be cleaned/disinfected between attendees, then it cannot be used. Consider pre-recording speeches to alleviate the need for people to share a microphone. 
  • For the distribution of diplomas, the diploma should not be directly handed to the graduate. Rather, it should be on a table for the graduate to retrieve.