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Time to start thinking about new ways to celebrate Halloween, Winnipeg epidemiologist says

The MLHU announced a new institutional outbreak on Saturday that was declared last Sunday at Country Terrace and impacts its Nottinghill area. Getty Images

A Winnipeg epidemiologist says trick-or-treating during the coronavirus pandemic could be too risky and might even take the fun away.

Cynthia Carr of EPI Research Inc. instead suggested kids start finding other ways to celebrate Halloween this year, especially as they now have nearly two months to prepare.

“We don’t have to go door-to-door to get candy, but we can still celebrate the idea of Halloween in a different way that is more safe,”¬†Carr said.

READ MORE: Tips for having a safe Halloween amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Even if COVID-19 numbers happen to be low come Halloween, Carr said it’s not worth the risk of another setback.

Assuming there are measures in place, such as having everyone wear masks, there are a number of other hazards to consider.

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“Even with wearing masks, I wouldn’t advocate for going door-to-door because of the potential choke points at the front door,” Carr said.

There is also the potential for a contact tracing nightmare for public health, should there be an outbreak.

“Like we’ve done with every other situation, come up with new ideas of doing it differently, doing it safely,” Carr said.

“Is there a drive-in where there could be scary movie night for a week? A drive-thru haunted house, but it’s not inside?”

At Thursday’s COVID-19 press conference, Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said it’s too early to give his Halloween recommendation, but suggested Oct. 31 will likely be different this year.

“I think we have to be prepared to, just like we’ve all been doing, to change what we normally do, so I doubt Halloween is going to look like it normally does, but it’s a little early, I don’t have a specific recommendation yet,” Roussin said.

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