By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Trick-or-treating this Halloween is safe, according to Durham Medical Officer of Health Robert Kyle, as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
Speaking with The Oshawa Express, Kyle has tips for trick-or-treaters planning to go door-to-door, as well as those who plan to celebrate from home this Halloween.
“What we’ve been saying is, with respect to door-to-door trick-or-treating, is do it safely if you’re going door-to-door, and adhere to public health measures,” he says.
This includes wearing a face covering or mask underneath a Halloween mask, staying within one’s own household, and practicing physical distancing when approaching a house.
He also adds to do trick-or-treating outside, and, while it may be exciting, to wait your turn and stay six feet, or two metres, apart while waiting.
“[People should also] try to avoid touching high contact areas as much as possible. Door knobs and that sort of thing,” he says, adding to practice “rigorous hand hygiene” as well.
He notes trick-or-treaters should also avoid bowls where there can be “mixing and matching” of treats.
Those handing out treats should also be giving out pre-packaged food as opposed to homemade food, and avoid touching it if they are sick, says Kyle.
“Depending on how your house is configured, you may want to give out treats in a manner where there’s not a pinch point, and you’re not forcing families to converge and congregate,” he says.
For those contemplating a party, Kyle says to adhere to indoor gathering limits of 10 people maximum, and to also limit the party to household members only.
He also notes there will be those who don’t want to participate in Halloween this year, and asks trick-or-treaters to respect their choice to not take part.
There are also alternatives to trick-or-treating, such as a Halloween themed movie night, or baking something at home, he notes.
“Overall, the message is, if you’re going to do door-to-door trick-or-treating, do it safely, don’t do it if you’re sick, and otherwise adhere to public health measures,” says Kyle.
He doesn’t think trick-or-treating is a bad idea despite COVID-19, as long as it is done safely.
“I think it can be done safely, but… I think it’s not business as usual. Don’t do it if you’re sick, and if you do do it, then adhere to public health measures along the lines that I’ve suggested,” he says.
Kyle also recommends checking out durham.ca/covid19 to see helpful tips and recommendations for celebrating this Halloween season.