Don't sing for your candy: N.S. releases guidelines for trick-or-treating, Halloween
Kids trick-or-treating with non-medical face masks. (Shutterstock)
HALIFAX -- It seems COVID-19 won’t stop little ghosts and goblins from trick-or-treating in Nova Scotia this Halloween.
The Nova Scotia government has released guidelines for trick-or-treating and Halloween celebrations, stating they can go ahead as long as people take the proper precautions.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, is urging residents to make “informed decisions” before attending events or parties.
"Halloween is a fun celebration but I am concerned about parties and behaviours that would see us letting our guard down," said Strang. “We have been fortunate to have few or no new cases recently, but as we have seen with our neighbouring provinces, COVID-19 can quickly find its way back into our communities. We must continue to follow all public health measures."
Strang said Nova Scotians should assess their own health status and risk level before attending any Halloween events or parties.
- Non-medical masks should not be replaced with a Halloween costume mask, as most Halloween masks that cover the face have holes for breathing.
- Halloween masks are fine to wear outside or in your home, but a non-medical mask should be worn inside in public places.
GUIDELINES FOR TRICK-OR-TREATERS:
- Don’t go trick-or-treating if you are feeling unwell or are self-isolating.
- Only trick-or-treat with people you live with or with friends from your close social group.
- Don’t go out in groups larger than 10 people.
- Stay six feet from other children or groups of people outside of your group.
- Skip houses that are dark, aren’t decorated or have posted a sign stating they are not participating.
- Try to trick-or-treat in outdoor spaces. If trick-or-treating indoors, wear a non-medical mask and adhere to gathering limits.
- Keep conversations short. Do not sing or shout in exchange for candy.
- Avoid ringing doorbells and gently knock on doors instead.
- Don’t take treats in situations where children have to reach into a single container.
- Bring hand sanitizer and clean your hands often. Wash your hands when you get home.
- Wash your hands before and after handling and eating your treats. It isn’t necessary to clean or disinfect treats.
GUIDELINES FOR HOUSEHOLDS:
- Don’t participate in any Halloween activities, including handing out treats, if you are feeling unwell or are self-isolating.
- If you don’t wish to pass out candy, turn off your lights, take down decorations and put up a sign stating that you are not participating in trick-or-treating.
- If possible, welcome trick-or-treaters from your porch, driveway, front yard or front door.
- If you can’t sit outside, regularly clean and disinfect doorbells, handrails and door handles.
- Wash your hands frequently throughout the evening.
- Have only one person from your household hand out treats.
- Don’t allow trick-or-treaters to reach into the same container. Instead, use tongs or other utensils to hand out treats or place individual amounts on a table.
- Wear a non-medical mask when you can’t physically distance.
- Don’t ask trick-or-treaters to sing or shout for their treats.
GUIDELINES FOR CELEBRATIONS:
- Adhere to gathering limits and celebrate with friends and family from your consistent group of 10. People can gather in close social groups of up to 10 without physical distancing.
- The gathering limit is 10 for parties or events at home.
- Up to 50 people can gather, with physical distancing, at community events held inside or outside. A physical distance of two metres or six feet must be maintained from those outside of your close social group of 10.
- If attending an event by a recognized business, 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity, up to 200 people, is permitted inside, or 250 people outside. A physical distance of two metres or six feet must always be maintained from people outside of your close social group of 10.
- Masks are still mandatory in indoor public places.
- Only serve food and drinks if physical distancing and good hand hygiene practices are followed.
- If serving food, guests should serve themselves from pre-served single servings, or one person should be designated to serve food and drinks.
- Food, drinks and common serving cutlery should not be shared.