Coronavirus: Interior Health issues plea ahead of Halloween celebrations

Interior Health is reminding people to trick or treat in small groups, hand out candy from a distance and not attend any parties to ensure COVID cases don't spike this Halloween season. Global News

With Halloween just one night away, the Interior Health Authority issued another plea for people to play it safe.

“Try to do it a little bit differently this year,” said Dr. Albert de Villiers, Interior Health’s chief medical health officer.

The advice from Interior Health includes no Halloween parties, trick-or-treating in very small groups and handing out candy from a distance.

“Put the candy outside, put it down the stairs, or put it on the sidewalk,” de Villiers told Global News.

The plea comes during a surge in COVID-19 cases across the province following Thanksgiving.

“If you look at what happened after Thanksgiving, we really don’t want that to happen again,” de Villiers said.

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“We’re seeing the consequences because we do get cases now and we are seeing clusters all over the community and in schools and workplaces as well.”

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The province has been posting record daily numbers as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

And with colder weather forcing people to spend more time indoors, some fear the situation will only continue getting worse.

Interior Health officials, though, say it doesn’t have to be that way.

“I don’t think we have to accept the fact that, yes, it will just get worse because it’s going to be winter, people are spending time indoors,” de Villiers said.

“If people actually follow what they’re supposed to do and actually spend time indoors with their safe six, with their family, then we should not have a problem.”

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One outdoor venue that the IHA will be keeping a close eye on this season is the outdoor ice skating rink at Stuart Park in Kelowna.

This week, city council decided it would open the popular amenity on a self-regulation basis, meaning users will have to use their judgment to determine if the venue is too crowded — something IHA hopes people take seriously.

“If you do get there and the place is crowded, turn around and come back tomorrow when it might not be as crowded,” de Villiers said.

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Both the health authority and the city will be monitoring things closely and IHA will step in if necessary.

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“As we do anywhere where there’s a complaint, in any place, a restaurant, in a pub, in a skating rink, whatever, I mean we had close down some facilities over the summer as well, he said.

“If anything happens … then we will definitely step in and do what needs to be done.”

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