Trick-or-treating not recommended in hotspots this Halloween: Ontario’s top doctor

MICHELLE MORTON | posted Tuesday, Oct 20th, 2020

If you live in Ontario’s hotspots, Toronto, Peel, Ottawa, and York, and have been thinking about taking your kids door-to-door trick or treating — consider another way to celebrate Halloween.

That message from the province’s top doctor, Dr. David Williams, who announced public health advice for Halloween this year.

This advice comes the same day York Region begins its modified Stage 2 restrictions as the province continues to see rising new daily COVID-19 case numbers.

Canada is approaching the 200,000 COVID-19 case count, with Quebec, followed by Ontario, leading the numbers.

“As Ontarians begin to prepare for Halloween this year, I’d like to remind everyone to take extra precautions to ensure you are keeping yourself and your families safe,” Williams said.

Williams said given the high transmission of COVID-19 in the modified Stage 2 public health unit regions, door-to-door trick or treating is not recommended.

Instead, the province is recommending residents living in the hotspot regions to instead encourage kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties, organize a Halloween candy hunt with people living in the same household, carving pumpkins, movie night, and to decorate front lawns.

Williams is also recommending that you check with your local municipality or public health unit for any additional advice or restrictions that may be in place.

RELATED: Restaurants near COVID-19 hotspots implement locals-only dining

“It is also critical that families not travel outside of their neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween,” Williams said.

Williams is also recommending Ontarians to avoid gatherings with people outside of their household, to stay home if you are feeling ill, or if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

If you live outside the modified Stage 2 public health unit regions, and plan to go trick-or-treat, Williams recommends:

  • To only go out with members of your household.
  • Trick-or-treat outside.
  • Trick-or-treaters, and people handing out candy should wear a face covering, adding that a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering, and shouldn’t be worn over a face covering because it may make it difficult to breathe.
  • Not congregate or linger at doorsteps and remember to line up two metres apart if waiting.
  • To avoid high-touch surfaces and objects.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer, whether collecting or handing out treats.
  • Not to leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab and consider using tongs or similar tools to hand out treats.

 

“I would also like to remind everyone that we are in a second wave of COVID-19. There have been increases in cases in many areas across the province, and the percentage of people tested who get a positive result is going up,” Williams said.

“The severity of this second wave is in our hands. Through our collective efforts, we can change the outcome of this new outbreak,” he said.

RELATED: Two protests take over downtown Toronto Saturday

In order to protect your health and stop the spread of COVID-19, Williams is reminding you to continue following these actions:

  • Limit trips outside of you home, except for essential purposes.
  • Stay home if you feel ill or have mild symptoms.
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least two metres with those outside your household.
  • Wear a face covering indoors, and outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained, or if wearing one is required.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
  • Follow social gathering and organized public event limits.
  • Download the COVID Alert mobile app.
  • If you are concerned you were exposed to COVID-19, or have symptoms, take the online COVID-19 self-assessment.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through COVID Alert.

 

To find the nearest COVID-19 testing location to you, the province has it listed for you online.

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