NEWS
10/19/2020 11:24 EDT | Updated 10/20/2020 09:54 EDT

Halloween Trick Or Treating Not Recommended In Ontario COVID-19 Hot Spots: Officials

“People should consider alternative ways to celebrate,” the government says.

Parents in Ontario’s COVID-19 hot spots should not let their children trick or treat for Halloween this year, the province said Monday. 

“Believe me, I don’t want to be the bad guy out there that says kids can’t go trick or treating. I don’t want that,” Premier Doug Ford told reporters after the announcement was made.

“I feel terrible, I do.”

He said he can’t take the risk of kids going out in groups and all sticking their hands in the same bags of candy. The advice came from doctors running Ontario’s COVID-19 response, he said.

‘I can’t chance it’

“God forbid something happens. I can’t chance it. I’m not cancelling Halloween. Let’s just not go door to door in the hot spot areas.”

The recommendation applies to areas in modified Stage 2: Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York Region. 

“... People should consider alternative ways to celebrate,” the government press release said. “This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Encouraging kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties;
  • Organizing a Halloween candy hunt with people living in their own household;
  • Carving pumpkins;
  • Having a movie night or sharing scary stories; and
  • Decorating front lawns.”

In other regions, where fewer restrictions are in place, kids can still trick or treat, the government said. But families should:

  • Only go out with members of their household, 
  • Wear masks while trick or treating or while handing out candy, 
  • Avoid lingering on doorsteps, 
  • Use hand sanitizer regularly, 
  • Use tongs to hand out candy instead of leaving it in a bowl for children to reach into
  • Keep two metres distance from others.

“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,” the press release said.

Ontario reported 704 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus on Monday. There were 244 new cases in Toronto, 168 in Peel, 103 in York Region and 51 in Ottawa, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter. 

The government added York Region to the list of places with increased restrictions on Friday. It previously rolled Toronto, Ottawa and Peel back into a modified version of Stage 2, which closed gyms and movie theatres, banned indoor service at restaurants and put new limits on gatherings.