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Trick-or-treating not recommended in Ontario hotspots this Halloween: top doctor

FILE - People go trick or treating in the rain on Halloween in Ottawa, on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Halloween is going to look very different this year as provinces continue to deal with COVID-19 cases

Ontario's top doctor says trick or treating is not recommended in four COVID-19 hotspots in that province

TORONTO – Halloween across the country is going to be looking very different this year as COVID-19 case numbers surge in some provinces.

In Ontario, many kids shouldn’t expect to go trick-or-treating, with the province’s top doctor saying it’s not recommended in hotspots including Toronto, Peel, Ottawa, and York.

“As Ontarians begin to prepare for Halloween this year, I’d like to remind everyone to take extra precautions to ensure you are keeping yourself and your families safe,” Dr. David Williams said.

He says given the high transmission of the coronavirus, people in the Stage 2 public health unit regions should consider another way to celebrate Halloween this year.

“I would also like to remind everyone that we are in a second wave of COVID-19. There have been increases in cases in many areas across the province, and the percentage of people tested who get a positive result is going up,” Williams said.

The province is recommending residents living in the hotspot regions to encourage kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties, organize a Halloween candy hunt with people living in the same household, carve pumpkins, movie night, and to decorate front lawns.

Trick-or-treating recommendations

For those living outside the aforementioned hotspots, Williams recommends only going out with members of the same household, trick-or-treating outside, and wearing a mask or face covering while doing so.

People who are handing out candy are also urged to wear a face covering. Recommendations note a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering, and shouldn’t be worn over a face covering because it may make it difficult to breathe.

Trick-or-treaters should not congregate or linger at doorsteps, and are reminded to maintain a proper physical distance from others.

Other recommendations include avoiding high-touch surfaces and objects, and not leaving treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab.

“The severity of this second wave is in our hands. Through our collective efforts, we can change the outcome of this new outbreak,” Williams said.