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Will trick-or-treating happen in Kingston? Premier and medical officer weigh in

Click to play video 'Will trick-or-treating happen in Kingston? Premier and medical officer weigh in.' Will trick-or-treating happen in Kingston? Premier and medical officer weigh in.
Premier Doug Ford said he is "nervous" about trick or treating as case numbers in Ontario rise. – Sep 12, 2020

The summer isn’t officially over, but for many, with the return to school and pumpkin spice lattes popping up on menus that signals the unofficial start to the fall season.

Halloween is around the corner, and many people are asking what that will look like amid a coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford was asked whether children will be allowed to go trick or treating this year based on the current uptick in COVID-19 numbers.

Ford said that they will play it by ear over the next month.

“It just makes me nervous, kids going door-to-door with this, I’d prefer (they) not,” said Ford, adding it would be a shame if kids had to skip the activity this year because of the pandemic.

Click to play video 'Premier Doug Ford gives an update on whether kids will get to trick or treat on Halloween' Premier Doug Ford gives an update on whether kids will get to trick or treat on Halloween
Premier Doug Ford gives an update on whether kids will get to trick or treat on Halloween – Sep 10, 2020

The majority of the cases in Ontario are coming from the Ottawa and Toronto areas. In Kingston, Ont., the case count remains low, with only three active cases reported in the last week.

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Kingston-area medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, addressed Premier Fords Halloween comments on Friday and what Kingstonians should expect come Oct. 31.

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“If our local risk remains so low, I think this can be done safely,” said Moore, adding that the next few weeks will determine the likelihood of Halloween happening if case numbers increase.

“If it’s driven by community spread, that changes the whole discussion heading into Halloween.”

Read more: Ontario reports 232 new coronavirus cases as record number of tests completed

The uncertainty around Halloween has taken its toll on Kingston-area businesses, such as Audrey’s Costume Castle and Dancewear. The store’s assistant manager, Kelly Burnett, says the Ottawa and Kingston locations are reliant on Halloween, and this season has been especially slow.

“Some people are hesitant, a little afraid. Is it going to happen? Is it not going to happen?” said Burnett.

She says the store sees a surge in customers looking for Halloween costumes during the first few weeks of September, but this year business is down. Burnett believes it’s due to the lack of certainty surrounding back to school.

“I think they’re waiting to see how school starts — can we get through the first two weeks without COVID breakout?” said Burnett.

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As of Saturday, there have been no reported outbreaks within the Kingston-area school boards.

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

Global News spoke to several Kingston families and many said Halloween is still on as per usual — others are getting creative to ensure physical distancing.

“We are going to do an Easter egg hunt, but instead of Easter treats, we’ll do Halloween treats,” said Jeff Gennrich.