A plea to the Jewish Community: Do not travel or host a seder for anyone but your immediate household

(April 5, 2020) – Three Ontario MPs issued this plea to the Jewish Community of Thornhill. The message should be heeded by the Jewish Community worldwide:

At Passover, Jewish families and friends come together to celebrate the Exodus, freedom and life. This year, however, we must celebrate in a different way.

COVID-19 is a serious, contagious and life-threatening illness. Each of us has a responsibility to prevent its spread. To protect the vulnerable, our families, and our communities, we must refrain from holiday travel and only hold Passover Seders with the immediate members of our household.

Cross-border travel for Passover is not essential travel. Those who enter Canada are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine under the Quarantine Act. That means staying home at all times and not receiving visitors under any circumstance. Violating the Quarantine Act is punishable by up to $1 million fine and/or up to 3 years imprisonment.

People over 70 years old or who have underlying medical conditions should self-isolate. Visiting them puts their lives in danger. Gatherings of more than five people who do not live together in the same household are illegal and subject to a fine of up to $100,000.

We know that for many in the Jewish community, not being able to join together in person to celebrate the Chag will be difficult – but that is no excuse to violate mandatory Public Health measures meant to save lives.

We plead with you not to visit relatives and not to attend/host Passover Seders other than with those you live with. Anything short of that may be illegal and puts lives at risk. Each of us has a moral and social obligation to stop the spread of the virus. Each of us has the obligation to preserve lives.

On behalf of ourselves and the Thornhill community, we wish you and your families a healthy and happy passover.

Sincerely, Peter Kent, MP peter.kent@parl.gc.ca 905-886-9911 Gila Martow, MPP gila.martow@pc.ola.org 905-731-8462 Councillor Alan Shefman alan.shefman@vaughan.ca 905-83

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