Simcoe Muskoka’s top doc doesn’t want to scare off Halloween

Medical Officer of Health says those who are going trick-or-treating need to stick to their own household

Halloween is just around the corner and there is no suggestion from the region’s medical officer of health that it should be cancelled.

During a media briefing Tuesday, Dr. Charles Gardner recommended that those who are trick or treating need to stick to their household as they go around the neighbourhood.

“You need to wear a mask and just not the costume mask, but with a proper face covering as well. Same with those who are providing candy at the door. They need to be wearing a mask and they need to be physically distancing, if you can find a way of handing out your candy that allows for physical distancing.”

He advises against lingering or crowding at the doorway.

COVID-19 has added another dimension to the safety advice we are used to hearing at Halloween, such as ensuring children don’t eat their candy until they get it home and it has been inspected.

Gardner says children should not be going trick-or-treating if they have symptoms and people shouldn’t be at the door providing treats if they are not well.

“I would also say people always have the option not to trick-or-treat. And households have the option not to actually participate in Halloween and trick-or-treating.”

Gardner says he anticipates more information to come from the province about Halloween, and he adds the current recommendations could change depending on the amount of transmission and circulation of the virus.

The health unit has this advice to have a safe and happy Halloween:

  • Stay home if feeling ill or if you have mild symptoms.
  • Only go out with members of your direct 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.
  • Consider building your face covering into your, or your child’s, costume.
  • Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps. Line up two metres (6 feet) 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.
  • Consider using tongs, or other similar tools to hand out treats.