How many people can I see at once? Coronavirus social rules by region

WATCH: How safe are social bubbles?

As Canada reopens after months in lockdown due to the novel coronavirus, the rules about socializing and group gatherings continue to evolve.

The federal government still emphasizes the need for physical distancing, good hand hygiene and staying home as much as possible.

However, depending on where you live, you may be able to slowly start seeing friends or visiting family members you haven’t seen since March.

READ MORE: Is it safe to see friends if we stay outside?

Some places, like New Brunswick, allow a “household bubble” wherein one family can join with another, while the province of Ontario introduced “social circles” of up to 10 people in early June.

If you do plan to see new people outside your household, experts recommend you do so in an outdoor setting if possible.

“There are safer ways to socialize right now,” Kate Mulligan, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, previously told Global News. “One of the safest ways to do it is by getting outside where the risk of transmission is quite low.”

Below is a list of the most current socializing rules in each province and territory.

British Columbia

British Columbia is currently in Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

The province still recommends “bubbling” with members of your immediate household, but your bubble can be “carefully expanded” to include others, according to the government.

“Inside your bubble, you can hug and kiss and do not need to wear a mask or stay two metres apart,” says the province’s website.

Residents of B.C. are permitted to see friends and family who aren’t in their bubble, but the province recommends only getting together with a maximum of six other people who aren’t in your bubble.

While you’re socializing, you should keep two metres of physical distance between each other and limit your time together.

This is not recommended if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, and you shouldn’t do this if you have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

At this time, public gatherings are not allowed to include more than 50 people. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, concerts, theatres and religious gatherings.


The province of Alberta is currently in Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy.

This allows more indoor and outdoor activities as long as public health orders — like the physical-distancing requirement of two metres — are followed at all times.

According to the province’s website, there is currently a 50-person maximum for indoor social gatherings, including wedding and funeral receptions and birthday parties.

READ MORE: Ontario introduces ‘social circles’ allowing interaction outside of household

For outdoor events and indoor “audience” events, there is a 100-person maximum, including wedding ceremonies and funeral services, movie theatres, arts and culture performances and other spectator events.

There is currently no cap on the number of people who can gather for worship gatherings, in restaurants and bars and in casinos and bingo halls — as long as physical distancing is being enforced.

If you want to cut the physical distancing with someone, you need to include them in your “cohort group.” Currently, households are allowed to increase their close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people.


As of June 8, residents of Saskatchewan are allowed to create “extended household groups” of a maximum of 15 people.

This entails three to five families or friends who remain consistent and committed to the same group. The people in your extended household group cannot change every day.

People in the same extended household group without high-risk people are allowed to be closer than two metres, and they can kiss and hug, according to the province.

As for public gatherings, both indoor and outdoor gatherings are allowed a maximum of 30 people — and that’s only if a two-metre space can be maintained between people who aren’t in the same household or the same extended household group.


Phase 3 of Manitoba’s reopening began on June 21.

Phase 3 includes allowing public gatherings of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors so long as people can stay two metres apart.

READ MORE: With new coronavirus cases daily, experts worry parts of Ontario are reopening too fast

Members of the same household do not need to practise physical distancing from each other, whether they’re in public or private settings.

“Social bubbles” are not permitted in Manitoba at this time.


In mid-June, the Ontario government announced new guidelines for “social circles” allowing interaction outside of a person’s household.

Social circle guidelines now allow Ontarians to expand a social group up to a maximum of 10 people, including those in their household, without physical distancing.

“Think of your social circle as the people you can touch, hug and come into close contact with as we continue our shared fight against COVID-19. A social circle is made up of families and friends that you can interact with, without the need for physical distancing,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said to reporters.

The key is to ensure the people in your social circle aren’t also in other social circles.

A guide on how Ontarians can safely build a social circle can be found here.

As of June 12, the social gathering limit in the province was upped from five to 10 people. These can be 10 people not in your social circle, but physical distancing must be maintained at all times.


The Quebec government continues to recommend that any and all social gatherings take place outdoors to limit the spread of COVID-19.

However, according to the provincial website, indoor gatherings are allowed but they must be limited to no more than 10 people. The same goes for outdoor gatherings.

It is also requested that those 10 people are from no more than three different households. People who live at the same address form a household.

READ MORE: Can I take a road trip this summer? Here’s which provinces are open to tourists

If you are with people from another household, a distance of two metres must be kept at all times. If the physical-distancing requirements can’t be met, a smaller gathering is recommended.

As for gatherings in public places, there is a maximum of 50 people allowed and a distance of two metres is required at all times between people from different households.

Unique to Quebec, a distance of 1.5 metres between people is allowed in “places where people are seated, are relatively stationary and do not talk much or at all,” according to the website.

Festivals, major events, vacation camps and fight sports are prohibited at this time.

New Brunswick

The province of New Brunswick introduced the concept of “household bubbles” early on in the pandemic. Officials hoped the system would minimize the impact of social isolation on residents.

The system allows one household to choose to spend time with one other household, assuming that both households agree to the arrangement.

It effectively creates a joined family unit that will allow physical-distancing requirements to be dropped between them.

The selection is not “interchangeable,” the provincial website explains. “For example, a family can now go visit grandparents, while another family could bring in a babysitter.”

Outdoor gatherings in “uncontrolled venues” with physical distancing are limited to a maximum of 50 people.

Indoor religious services with physical distancing are permitted, but other large gatherings are discouraged.

Nova Scotia

As of June 18, family household bubbles in Nova Scotia were nixed in favour of a 10-person gathering limit.

This allows 10 people from different households to gather without physical distancing. However, the government “strongly encourages” keeping this group consistent.

READ MORE: Restaurants, bars operating at almost 40% sales loss. Can they recover?

As for indoor and outdoor gatherings with social distancing, the limit is capped at 50 people.

Gathering limits apply to social events, faith gatherings, sports and physical activity, weddings, funerals and arts and culture events, as well as festivals and concerts.

Prince Edward Island

As of June 26, P.E.I. is in Phase 4 of its reopening plan.

This includes a reintroduction of larger organized events, like worship services, organized sports and weddings, with a maximum of 50 attendees allowed.

This applies to both indoor and outdoor events, and physical distancing must be maintained with any individual who is not part of one’s household.

Unique to P.E.I., for indoor and outdoor facilities with separate rooms or large spaces that can accommodate more than one gathering at a time, multiple gatherings to a maximum of 100 people are allowed. However, the multiple gatherings guidance must be followed.

Meanwhile, personal gatherings are limited to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is currently in Level 2 of its reopening plan.

The province has entered into an “extended bubble,” or a double bubble, which allows a person to spend time with up to six more people than before.

The new members of your extended bubble do not have to be from the same household, according to the provincial website, but you should aim to keep your bubble as small as possible.

READ MORE: How safe are public washrooms in the coronavirus pandemic?

Residents should not have contact closer than two metres with anyone outside of their extended bubble, and extended bubbles are not recommended for anyone considered to be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

A guide on how to safely create an extended bubble can be found here.

Public gatherings are currently limited to a maximum of 50 people, as long as physical distancing can be maintained. This includes funerals, burials and weddings, but wakes are not allowed.


Yukon is currently in Phase 1 of its reopening plan.

This means Yukoners are allowed close contact only with members of their household bubble. For anyone outside of the bubble, physical distancing should be maintained.

Both indoor and outdoor gatherings are capped at a maximum of 10 people.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories are in Phase 2 as of June 12, according to the territorial government website.

Households are currently allowed to have a maximum of five additional people visit at any given time, up to a maximum of 10 people in the house at once.

For example, if your household has two people, you can have a total of seven people in your house at once.

Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 25 people, as long as physical distancing can be maintained, and outdoor gatherings are capped at a maximum of 50 people.


As of June 1, outdoor gatherings were increased to a maximum of 25 people from different households. Physical distancing is still strongly recommended by public health.

Indoor gatherings are limited to five people.

Nunavut’s entire reopening plan can be found here.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

— With files from Global News’ Ryan Rocca and Alexander Quon

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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