Peterborough Public Health says the safest way to celebrate Halloween this year is with those within your household.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the health unit is providing “recommendations” for a fun and safe celebration.
As of Tuesday evening, the health unit reported four active cases of COVID-19 within its jurisdiction of Peterborough, Peterborough County, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.
“Evidence over the weekend showed an increased risk for local transmission of COVID-19, so this year, the safest option is to celebrate Halloween with those in your household,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, medical officer of health.
“If you choose to trick-or-treat or give out treats, following these COVID-19 safety guidelines will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
For those trick-or-treating and handing out treats, Salvaterra recommends:
Screen for COVID-19 symptoms before trick-or-treating or handing out treats.
- stay home if you are experiencing symptoms or feel ill, even for minor symptoms like a runny nose
- wear a cloth face mask — a costume mask should not be worn as a substitute
- make sure costumes are visible at night by wearing bright or reflective clothing
- only travel and trick-or-treat with those in your household. Maintain 2 m distance from other groups
- avoid crowding in hallways or by doors
- wash or sanitize hands frequently
- clean hands before eating any treats
- use tongs or other tools when handing out treats
- avoid leaving treats in a bowl for trick-or-treaters to grab
- avoid handing out or eating homemade or repackaged treats
For anyone who is looking to attend a costume party or other similar gathering, Salvaterra is reminding residents that unmonitored social gatherings are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. For all gatherings, residents must maintain two metres of physical distance from those outside of their household and wear a cloth mask in addition to any costume masks. People should wash their hands frequently and avoid sharing food or drinks.
The health unit is also encouraging residents to stay local and avoid going to areas that are experiencing higher rates of community transmission.
Similarly, the neighbouring Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit advises to you consider safer alternatives that can be done close to home by celebrating Halloween with family.
“Halloween is a popular celebration, but due to COVID-19, play it safe,” the health unit said. “Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading illness, so continuing with them in the middle of COVID-19 is not recommended. The key is to find a balance between keeping safe while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy.”