Every October, Hallowe’en preparation begins. Pumpkins are purchased and carved, yards are decorated, and costumes are selected.
Unfortunately, 2020 is a year like no other. With the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 looming, it is important to be mindful of some key pandemic-related precautions.
With respect to social gatherings, the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act allows the Ontario Government to implement orders that “…promote the public good by protecting the health, safety and welfare of the people of Ontario in times of declared emergencies.”
While the act is very broad in its powers, this includes orders related to restriction of travel, closing of businesses and/or institutions, collecting personal information, or implementing emergency plans or procedures. This creates a wide mandate that allows the government to restrict gatherings, close businesses or host parties.
Hallowe’en presents a variety of concerns that might not typically be present during other times of year. Social distancing can be a challenge as you or your children may come into contact with people that you would not otherwise, and contact tracing will be next to impossible.
In addition to the usual trick or treating advice (wearing bright or reflective clothing, crossing streets in designated crosswalks, and wearing masks that do not obstruct vision), consider the following COVID-19 related advice:
– Incorporate a mask into the costume that covers your child’s nose, mouth and chin (while not required outside, this will prevent having to remind your child to put on their mask when approaching trick or treating destinations);
– Have your child wear gloves during trick or treating; and
– Ensure that your child is only trick or treating with children within their social bubble.
If greeting trick or treaters at your home, the following precautions may be applicable:
– Meet trick or treaters on your front porch to avoid the entry of people into your home or the touching of potentially transmissible areas (such as doorknobs and doorbells);
– Wear a mask and gloves while distributing candy;
– Create socially distant markings on your walkway to minimize interactions between groups of trick or treaters;
– Do not invite children into the foyer of your home.
In addition to the above, it is important to note the limits on social gatherings, which can be increased or decreased by an order of the Ontario Government. Fines under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act can be severe.
Hallowe’en 2020 is shaping up to be one like none other. Hopefully, if we follow the advice of our local health officials, there will not be another one like it.