COVID-19: Eastern Ontario health official joins call for no trick-or-treating

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The agency is also “strongly recommending” the cancellation of traditional organized community/municipal Halloween events where many people gather.

“Gatherings, big or small, put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19,” he wrote.

Roumeliotis’s recommendations echo those of Ottawa chief medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches and Mayor Jim Watson.

Designated by the province as being one of four hot zones, Ottawa is under a “modified Stage 2” condition, which mandates widespread business closures and other measures.

Etches said Halloween should only be celebrated within households and she suggested it should be more like Easter, perhaps involving costumed hunts for candy at home.

Mayor Jim Watson agreed and said he wouldn’t be distributing candy at his home. But he said bylaw officers and police won’t be cracking down on trick-or-treaters. It’s just a strong recommendation from city officials.

Roumeliotis had similar suggestions for at-home celebrations, including distanced outdoor activities under the full moon.

“The last time there was (a full moon) on October 31 was 2001,” he noted.

Regional medical officers of health have also been forced to reconcile “don’t trick-or-treat” messages with advice this week from federal chief public health officer Theresa Tam, who suggested this week that trick-or-treating could be done safely.

But Tam has also stressed that her recommendations were national in scope, and many regions in Canada have not been hit as severely as in Ontario and Quebec.

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She has repeatedly said that Canadians should get their advice from local medical officers of health, who are better informed on local situations.

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