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Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has a few tips for trick-or-treating without bringing home a case of COVID-19
COVID-19 hasn’t cancelled Halloween in Canada – yet.
Some families who don’t feel safe going trick-or-treating are opting for Easter-style scavenger hunts at home. But others will argue that if kids can go to school, they can go trick-or-treating.
Halloween may be the safest annual event to celebrate during the pandemic. It happens largely outdoors and mask wearing is a built-in fail safes.
The week before Ontario brought “modified” Stage 2 lockdown measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel was full of mixed messaging from the different levels of government around Thanksgiving.
However, mayors and chairs of the 11 municipals governments are hoping to avoid a repeat by pushing the province to deliver “one clear public health message” by the end of the week around official Halloween protocol.
But with Halloween less than three weeks away, the federal government has already started rolling out advice.
“How do we adapt to the new reality, the new Halloween?” asked Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam during a press conference Tuesday morning.
She acknowledged that sticking with Halloween in Canada to “provide some degree of normality” is a benefit for mental health reasons. But she also cautioned that this year’s Halloween would and should look like no other.
Tam offered tips on Tuesday for Canadians who are willing to venture trick-or-treating without bringing home a case of COVID-19. Before offering her tips for Halloween, Tam asked Canadians to follow guidance from their local governments.
Toronto is in the throes of a second wave, reporting over 300 new COVID-19 cases a day. De Villa was the first public official to insist that Torontonians celebrate Thanksgiving within their own households, even advising those who live alone to log in with their family or friends virtually.
Anyone who is sick or thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should not participate in Halloween.
Here Tam’s tips for celebrating Halloween safely during COVID-19 – assuming staying home and going virtual isn’t the official public health advice in your area.
People are posting more creative ideas on social media, such as this spooky zipline…
And this chute…
Or just use a PVC pipe with no frills. The kids just want candy. Here are a few more of Tam’s tips:
South of the border, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said Halloween can be “high-risk for spreading viruses.”
The American agency has suggested people find alternative ways to celebrate rather than going door to door and has ranked activities from low to medium to high risk.
Since Ford and de Villa have recently asked Torontonians to only make essential trips outside, families might want to consider the CDC’s low-risk activities for Halloween – i.e. things you can do at home.
Some suggestions include:
Read the CDC’s full list of Halloween recommendations here.