The Ontario government issued a release on Monday stating that traditional, door-to-door trick or treating is not recommended in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel, and York Region, due to the high transmission of COVID-19 in these regions.
“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,” Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of health, stated in the release.
He suggested that people consider alternative ways to celebrate. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Encouraging kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties;
- Organizing a Halloween candy hunt with people living in their own household;
- Carving pumpkins;
- Having a movie night or sharing scary stories;
- Decorating front lawns.
“It is also critical that families not travel outside of their neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween,” he added, reminding 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.”
On Monday, the province recorded an increase of 704 confirmed cases of the virus based on about 32,000 tests; an increase of 607 resolved cases and an increase of four deaths has also been reported. Of these numbers — Toronto reported 244 positive cases (an increase from the 197 reported the day before), Peel recorded 168 cases (an increase from the 155 reported the day before), York recorded 103 cases (an increase from the 94 reported the day before), and Ottawa recorded 51 cases (a decrease from the 61 reported the day before).
Earlier this month, to help curb the spread of the virus, the province imposed new restrictions in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region, including prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants and bars and closing gyms, movie theatres, and casinos. Last week, York Region was put under the same restrictions. These modified Stage 2 measures will remain in effect for at least 28 days.
Concerning the Halloween recommendations, people quickly took to Twitter, some suggesting that parents will take their kids to trick or treat in areas with less restrictions.
“Toronto, Peel and Ottawa parents will drive their kids to neighbouring regions so just make it all or nothing,” @autumnpeer wrote.
Totally agree! I am in Halton, I don’t want all the Peel kids coming here
— Peggy Grace (@peggygrace71) October 13, 2020
For residents living outside of the hot spot regions, Dr. Williams offered the following recommendations for Halloween celebrations:
- Only go out with members of your household;
- Only trick or treat outside;
- Both trick or treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering. A costume mask is 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 and remember to line up two metres apart if waiting. Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects;
- Whether collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer;
- 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.