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B.C. can celebrate Halloween during COVID-19 pandemic, says top doctor

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Sep 9, 2020 at 3:54 pm PDT

halloween - pumpkin iStock file photo
Summary

Halloween can take place in B.C. this year despite a scary surge in COVID-19 cases: top doctor

Health officials are working on Halloween guidelines to be issued closer to Oct. 31.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Halloween can take place in B.C. this year despite a scary surge in COVID-19 cases, the province’s top doctor said Wednesday.

But trick-or-treating might involve smaller groups and pre-packed bags of candy at the end of a driveway rather than legions of costumed witches and clowns knocking on doors.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she was surprised at the dozens of questions she’s been asked about Halloween recently, as haunted houses and parties have been nixed in Los Angeles County this year under new health guidelines because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“When I was talking to young people in the school a couple of weeks ago, that was one of the questions they had for me, as well,” Henry said of Halloween, a day after she ordered nightclubs and standalone banquet halls to close immediately as 429 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths were reported over the long weekend.

“And, yes, absolutely I think we can have Halloween this year. It’s just going to look different, like everything is looking different during this pandemic.”

She said health officials are working on guidelines to be issued closer to Oct. 31.

“But I really think we need to think about small groups outside, not having somebody come into your house, but having maybe the neighborhood doing things at the end of the driveway, having pre-packaged treats for kids so that they’re not rummaging around and things,” Henry added.

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“And, you know, there’s there’s lots of ways we can still celebrate and I think it’s important for us to still celebrate and during this time.”

Officials in L.A. are encouraging online parties, meals at outdoor restaurants, Halloween-themed art installations at outdoor museums, and decorating homes and yards.

Health officials there didn’t say what kind of enforcement measures would be in place, but police will not be ticketing trick-or-treaters.

Los Angeles County remains in the state’s highest tier for virus danger, which is purple, meaning many nonessential businesses are closed, there’s no indoor dining and schools can’t return to in-person teaching unless they obtain a waiver to do so.

A group representing the candy industry chided LA County for not including “a more creative and safe approach to trick-or-treating” in its guidelines.

“Across the country, this Halloween will look a little different for many people. Whether this means trick-or-treating, more candy bowl moments at home with family and close friends, or just more time celebrating the season throughout the month of October, one thing is for sure – Halloween is happening,” the National Confectioners Association said in a statement.