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Province provides advice on Halloween celebrations

(Metro Creative Graphics image)

Chief Medical Officer of Health: avoid parties and take precautions if trick-or-treating

TORONTO — The province is recommending all Ontarians avoid Halloween parties and take precautions if trick-or-treating.

“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,” stated Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, in an Oct. 19 press release.

The province recommends that those living in modified stage two public health regions – Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York – should not take part in traditional trick-or-treating and instead find alternative ways to celebrate.

Williams has also suggested all Ontarians heed the following Halloween advice:

  • avoid gatherings with people outside of your household;
  • stay home if you are feeling ill, even with mild symptoms, or if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19; and
  • for those who decide to go trick-or-treating:
    • only trick or treat with members of your household and only outside;
    • trick or treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering (costume masks are not a substitute for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it difficult to breathe);
    • do not congregate or linger at doorsteps;
    • line up two metres apart if waiting and avoid high-touch surfaces and objects;
    • whether collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer; and
    • do not leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab and consider using tongs or other similar tools to hand out treats.

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

Williams said “the severity of this second wave is in our hands,” and offered the following general advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • limit trips outside of home, except for essential purposes such as work, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments, and outdoor healthy physical activity;
  • stay home if you feel ill or have symptoms;
  • maintain physical distancing of at least two metres with those outside your household;
  • wear a face covering indoors in workplaces, businesses and facilities, and wear one outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained or if wearing one is required;
  • wash your hands thoroughly and regularly;
  • follow gathering limits;
  • download the COVID Alert mobile app;
  • if concerned you were exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, take the online COVID-19 self-assessment; and
  • 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.