OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian children can go trick-or-treating on Halloween despite being in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19, the country’s top health officials say, as long as they practice physical distancing, wear masks and wash their hands.
In Canada as in the United States, Halloween brings armies of children dressed in spooky costumes out onto the streets in search of candy and maybe a fright or two.
For parents, this year’s Halloween is truly a scary prospect, however, as coronavirus case numbers climb. Canada recorded 975 new infections on Monday, and the prime minister warned last week that the country is at a “tipping point” in its battle against a second surge.
“We can have Halloween… It’s possible to give and receive candy safely,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, told a news conference on Tuesday.
“There are some really interesting ideas where people are handing out treats on the end of a hockey stick,” added Dr. Theresa Tam, chief medical officer. “Pre-packaging your treats so people are not rummaging in a bowl of candies is actually important.”
More tips, like equipping the kids with small bottles of hand sanitizer, will be posted on the Health Ministry’s website, she said.
Health experts agree it is important to have “some degree of normality” during the pandemic, Tam said, but added that staying outdoors, physical distancing and wearing masks that “could turn into part of your costume” are necessary.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)