The provincial government announced last week that Ontarians can now form social circles of up to 10 people, meaning many can finally reunite when their loved ones from closer than two metres away.
“Ontarians should think of their circles as the people they can touch, hug and come into close contact as we continue our shared fight against COVID-19,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott in a government release about the public health recommendation.
As a result of this advice, many Ontario residents have taken to social media to share photos of the special moments and family reunions that have taken place across the province over the past few days.
Heartwarming photos of adults hugging their elderly parents, for instance, have appeared all over Instagram and Twitter.
Television host Tracy Moore even posted an adorable picture of her family reunion.
“Breaking news: WE CAN HUG. In Ontario the social bubble has been expanded to ten people and that meant an immediate visit to squeeze the living crap outta these two,” she wrote in the image caption.
“Nothing can replace the smell of your childhood home and the folks who brought you into this world 💕. Sidebar: You can’t see my eyes because I’m THAT happy. #HugsAreLife“
Countless photos have also been shared of grandparents hugging and kissing their grandchildren for the first time in months.
Toronto city councillor Mike Layton also posted a touching photo of his daughter reuniting with her grandmother.
And considering elderly people have been some of the most isolated throughout the pandemic due to being high risk, the photos of much-needed reunion hugs are just that much more meaningful.
Many Ontarians have also posted photos of the food they chose to share with loved ones for the first time, because we all know there’s no better way to spend time together than by sharing a plate of something delicious.
And some also posted about their wholehearted appreciation for a home-cooked meal.
Of all the social circle photos shared by Ontario residents in recent days, those portraying special family moments between loved ones who’ve been waiting out the storm before getting too close are arguably the most impactful.
But while social circles (aka family reunions) are now technically allowed in Ontario, be sure to keep your circle at or below 10 people and continue practicing hand washing and physical distancing with all those outside your bubble.
Because if there’s anything better than hugging a friend or family member you’ve been missing, it’s making absolutely sure you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe, healthy and protected.