Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Canada's chief public health officer says trick-or-treating should be possible this Halloween as long as little goblins take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

COVID-19 won’t spook away trick-or-treating if safety rules followed: health officers

COVID-19 won’t spook away trick-or-treating if safety rules followed: health officers

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says trick-or-treating should be possible this Halloween as long as little goblins take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam cautions, however, that parents should listen to local public health authorities for advice on their particular communities.

Tam says outdoor trick-or-treating can be safe when people respect physical distancing, wear masks, use hand-sanitizer and ensure treats are prepackaged.

She notes a cloth mask can even be incorporated into some costumes.

“So there are ways to actually manage this, outdoors in particular,” Tam told a news briefing Tuesday in Ottawa.

“I think that’s some of the safest way of doing trick or treating.”

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Halloween celebrations will vary across the country.

But he pointed to the way people creatively adapted to safely enjoy Thanksgiving as an example to follow.

“I think Canadians are resilient, they can adapt,” Njoo said. “It’s possible to give and receive candy safely.”

Tam offered ideas such as using a hockey stick to hand out treats or having a pool noodle handy to remind people to stay two metres apart.

Health officials also plan to put safety tips on a federal website before Oct. 31.

The advice comes amid a second wave of COVID-19 across the country that is causing fear and uncertainty.

Quebec reported 815 new cases Tuesday, the fewest since the end of September, but put three new regions on its highest alert level. In two districts near Montreal, plus the Charlevoix region near Quebec City, bars, gyms and other indoor venues will have to close and large private gatherings are being banned.

In Ontario, the province is calling in the Red Cross to help in several long-term care homes. Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday he’s praying he won’t see a need to impose restrictions in more parts of the province after rolling Toronto, suburban Peel region and Ottawa back to an earlier stage of reopening just before the Thanksgiving long weekend.

In Saskatchewan, the chief medical officer of health cut the number of people allowed to gather in a private residence to 15 from 30.

And in New Brunswick, a province relatively lightly touched by the pandemic so far, authorities announced six new cases, including one in a special-care home and one linked to a high school.

Tam acknowledged the challenges Canadian face as communities reopen businesses and services, only to roll them back when outbreaks occur.

The goal is to fine-tune the balance to allow for a sustained rhythm and more predictability for the public, she said..

“I think the bottom line is, nobody has that precise playbook.”

The balance will be different in individual communities across the country, she added.

“People are giving it a really good try but it’s not going to be easy, and we need everyone to collaborate on that front.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sitting alongside Tam at the briefing, said now is the time to redouble efforts against the spread of COVID-19 by following public health advice.

Ensuring rapid testing across the country is a key to managing the pandemic, Trudeau said.

“But it is not in and of itself a panacea. It is going to be important that it be deployed properly to maximize the impact.”

The federal government will work with provinces on how to maximize all the technology the country is able to deploy, he added.

Remote communities have had point-of-care rapid tests since the spring because of the lack of easy access and long transport times for laboratory analysis.

Tam said additional units should be available in the coming days.

How they are rolled out is up to the provinces and territories, she said, adding they would likely go to locations with the most need.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Halloween

Just Posted

An incredible closing ceremony capped off the 2019 Canada Winter Games. (File photo by SUSAN JUDGE/2019 Canada Winter Games)
2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy Fund Society hands out $655,000

35 not-for-profit groups across Alberta to get money

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services, says COVID ICU patients have increased by more than 100 per cent in the past month. (Photo by The Government of Alberta)
Record number of people in ICU: says AHS president

The head of Alberta Health Services says hospital staff are treating more… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon Wheat Kings, the team announced Monday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer Rebels acquire goaltender Connor Ungar, forward Liam Keeler in separate trades

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon… Continue reading

Alexander Michael Talbot, 29, was found guilty of operating a vehicle while prohibited, flight from police and vehicle theft in Red Deer provincial court recently. (Advocate file photo)
Man charged following police chases in central Alberta last summer is sentenced

Alexander Michael Talbot sentenced to 22 months in prison

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

Marlene Bird is shown in this undated handout provided by radio station CKBI. A Saskatchewan man who brutally attacked a woman and set her on fire has been denied parole. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CKBI **MANDATORY CREDIT**
Man who attacked, set fire to Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan denied parole

Man who attacked, set fire to Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan denied parole

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police don’t expect gang conflict to subside, say it might escalate

Vancouver police don’t expect gang conflict to subside, say it might escalate

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix talk about phase two in B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. residents who had AstraZeneca vaccine can choose second-dose vaccine

B.C. residents who had AstraZeneca vaccine can choose second-dose vaccine

This image released by Forest Lake Camp shows campers boating and kayaking on the lake of the camp in Warrensburg, N.Y. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Forest Lake Camp via AP
Canada’s summer camps hope to reopen as provinces plan to lift restrictions

Canada’s summer camps hope to reopen as provinces plan to lift restrictions

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals tap another military officer to replace Fortin on vaccine campaign

Liberals tap another military officer to replace Fortin on vaccine campaign

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)
Republican Arizona election official says Trump “unhinged”

Republican Arizona election official says Trump “unhinged”

In this June 29, 2020 file photo, the Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

FILE - In this May 14, 2021, file photo, signs instruct visitors on the proper way to wear masks at the Universal City Walk in Universal City, Calif. California is keeping its rules for wearing facemasks in place until the state more broadly lifts its pandemic restrictions on June 15. State officials said Monday, May 17 that the delay will give people time to prepare, and for the state to make sure that virus cases stay low. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
California will stay masked for another month

California will stay masked for another month

Most Read