Scared of a COVID Halloween? Durham issues trick-or-treating tips

Scared of a COVID Halloween? Durham issues trick-or-treating tips

“We need to remain vigilant” says medical officer of health

The countdown to Halloween is on and how to handle the holiday in the midst of pandemic is a hot topic.

The Durham Region Health Department says alternatives to trick-or-treating are “highly recommended” and suggests options like a scavenger hunt with members of your household or hosting a virtual Halloween party.

Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham’s medical officer of health, says there are ways to make trick-or-treating safer — but he wants local residents to keep in mind that local COVID-19 numbers are up.

“There is a lot of community transmission going on in Durham Region,” Kyle said in an interview, referring to daily case counts in the double digits over the past few weeks. “Despite people’s pandemic fatigue…we need to remain vigilant. It really doesn’t take a whole lot of sophisticated measures to protect oneself and one’s loved ones.”

He says simple things like distancing, masks and hand hygiene go a long way.

Here are Kyle’s common sense recommendations if you’re planning to trick-or-treat or hand out candy this year.

If you’re trick-or-treating

- Stay home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if they’re mild

- Trick-or-treat with members of your own household only and stay two metres away from others

- Don’t linger or crowd on doorsteps. If someone is there ahead of you, line up two metres apart to wait

- Costume masks are not protective, wear a non-medical face mask or face covering along with your costume

- Avoid high touch surfaces and clean hands often

If you’re handing out treats

- Do not hand out treats if you’re sick, even if symptoms are mild

- Wear a non-medical mask or face covering

- Only hand out pre-packaged treats, nothing homemade

- Hand out treats at the end of the driveway to avoid crowding and close contact at the doorstep

- Consider using tongs or other similar tools to hand out treats

- Disinfect high touch areas such as handrails, doors and doorbells often

- Do not leave treats in a bowl for children to grab

Do you need to disinfect candy packaging when you get home?

“Generally speaking, no,” Kyle says. “I think the risk is minimal, I don’t think it’s necessary to do that.”

However, he does recommend that you dispose of the treat packaging and wash your hands before eating.

Re-think any party plans

“For adults, if you’re contemplating a Halloween party, costume party that sort of thing — don’t do it. Respect social distancing,” Kyle says. Any gathering should be restricted to members of your household, or consider a virtual option.

via Durham Region

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