Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Canada’s chief public health officer says trick-or-treating should be possible this Halloween as long as little goblins take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

COVID-19 won’t spook away trick-or-treating if safety rules followed: health officers

Dr. Theresa Tam cautions, however, that parents should listen to local public health authorities

Canada’s chief public health officer says trick-or-treating should be possible this Halloween as long as little goblins take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam cautions, however, that parents should listen to local public health authorities for advice on their particular communities.

Tam says outdoor trick-or-treating can be safe when people respect physical distancing, wear masks, use hand-sanitizer and ensure treats are prepackaged.

She notes a cloth mask can even be incorporated into some costumes.

“So there are ways to actually manage this, outdoors in particular,” Tam told a news briefing Tuesday.

“I think that’s some of the safest way of doing trick or treating.”

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Halloween celebrations will vary across the country.

But he pointed to the way people creatively adapted to safely enjoy Thanksgiving as an example to follow.

“I think Canadians are resilient, they can adapt,” Njoo said. “It’s possible to give and receive candy safely.”

Tam offered ideas such as using a hockey stick to hand out treats or having a pool noodle handy to remind people to stay two metres apart.

Health officials also plan to put safety tips on a federal website before Oct. 31.

The advice comes amid a second wave of COVID-19 across the country that is causing fear and uncertainty.

Tam acknowledged the challenges Canadian face as communities reopen businesses and services, only to roll them back when outbreaks occur.

The goal is to fine-tune the balance to allow for a sustained rhythm and more predictability for the public, she said..

“I think the bottom line is, nobody has that precise playbook.”

The balance will be different in individual communities across the country, she added.

“People are giving it a really good try but it’s not going to be easy, and we need everyone to collaborate on that front.”

READ MORE: B.C. CDC releases Halloween tips for COVID-safe fall celebrations

READ MORE: Top 10 timely Halloween costumes: From Baby Yoda to Black Panther to ‘2020 Dumpster Fire’

The Canadian Press


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