Ontario says no trick or treating this Halloween in COVID-19 hotspots
Published Monday, October 19, 2020 10:33AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 19, 2020 7:08PM EDT
Ontario health officials are recommending against trick or treating door-to-door this Halloween if you live in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel or York Region.
According to guidance released Monday morning, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says the risk of transmission in those areas is too great.
“Given the high transmission of COVID-19 in the modified Stage 2 public health unit regions of Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York Region, traditional door-to-door trick or treating is not recommended and people should consider alternative ways to celebrate,” Williams said.
Officials suggested Halloween in those areas be kept to one’s own household, with activities such as an indoor candy hunt, pumpkin carving, movie night or decorating a front lawn.
“We’re trying to make it as safe and simple as possible, my friends, we all know this isn’t going to be a regular Halloween,” Premier Doug Ford said on Monday. “We just can’t have hundreds of kids showing up at your door if you live in a hotspot, especially in an apartment building.”
Outside of Toronto, Peel, Ottawa and York, Williams said trick-or-treating should only go outside with members of their own household and only collect candy given to them outdoors.
Those handing out candy should use tongs or other implements to hand it out rather than touching it.
In addition, everyone out for Halloween in regions that allow it should wear a mask at all times.
Those handling candy should use hand sanitizer or wash their hands often.
Ontario reported 704 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with 566 of them in the four regions put back into Stage 2 by the Ford government.
Epidemiologist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the decision to cancel Halloween in Ontario's two largest cities "doesn't sit right" with him, and more should have been done to adapt the activity to make it safe.