First holiday weekend in Ottawa with few COVID-19 restrictions

This is the first holiday weekend in years with few COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Religious leaders are marking Good Friday for the start of the Easter weekend and tonight will mark the beginning of Passover.

In Ottawa, the Way of the Cross, a Catholic tradition, was led from St. Patrick’s Basilica to Notre Dame Cathedral.

“I was really pleased with the turnout,” said Brian Butcher, who directs the choir. “A lot of people just feel the need to be together, to pray with other people, to sing with other people, and to have that human experience.”

Hundreds of people gathered for the walk on Friday morning, which was held in-person for the first time since 2019.

“I felt being together was a beautiful beginning after COVID,” said David McConkey, who organized the walk. “A way for us to come back together again.”

Many traveled from out of town to take part in the gathering.

“We are thinking of my girlfriend’s dad because he passed away and on Sunday it will be his birthday,” said Bryan Mauricio, who is visiting from Toronto.

“This is my first time back to Canada and Ottawa in five years and it was just really a joy to be here for Easter weekend, for Good Friday,” said Lisa Gilbert, who is visiting from the United States.

This is the first holiday weekend with few restrictions since the pandemic started.

Ontario’s health minister says the sixth wave has reached the peak and cases are expected to drop soon.

Many are looking for a chance to enjoy family gatherings.

“It feels nice, we have our mother-in-law joining too,” said Lindsay Graves, an Ottawa resident. “We haven’t had a holiday with her in a long time.”

As many get together for gatherings, others are taking precaution with cases in the nation’s capital remaining high.

“I wear a mask when I have to,” said Marie Victoria Nigro. “I always wear it on public transit and we will see how it goes with the restrictions lifting, it’s always a wait and see.”

Experts say to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19, it’s important to wear a mask indoors and during gatherings.

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