Get the costumes ready! Halloween 'definitely' on this year, says Waterloo region's medical officer

Waterloo region's medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says Halloween can happen this year, but warns there are precautions people need to take to stay safe and curb the spread of COVID-19.

Hosting a party? Make a list of guests in case contact tracing is needed

Waterloo region's medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says Halloween is a go this year, but there are things people can do to ensure they stay safe and to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Children eager to knock on doors and issue the ultimatum "trick or treat" will be happy to hear: there's no question in the minds of local and provincial health officials that Halloween is on this year.

"We have done a great job in Waterloo region in terms of increasing our vaccine rates," Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Waterloo region's medical officer of health, said in an interview on CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition on Friday.

"Definitely Halloween can go ahead."

Wang said trick-or-treating should be a fairly safe activity as it's largely outside. She did encourage young ghouls and goblins to keep interactions at the door short and not to shout their demands for candy.

"And just make sure you wash your hands when you get home before you eat your candy," she said.

On Thursday, Ontario's chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore said he knows "kids are eager to fill up their bags and pillowcases with candy."

He also asked children to be outside as much as possible, not to linger on doorsteps or go up to doors in large groups and to make an appropriate face covering part of the costume. He noted a costume mask doesn't count. 

Sick? Stay home

Wang said parties are the biggest risk at Halloween, because that's where people might have closer contact with others and where alcohol may be involved.

She encouraged people to ensure physical distancing and stay outside when possible.

Moore noted gatherings are still limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

"If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, you should not be participating in social events like Halloween," he said.

The province's website also notes people throwing Halloween parties should make a list of guests attending "in case the local public health unit needs it for contact tracing."

It says hosts should also provide hand sanitizer, a place for people to wash their hands or consider hosting a virtual event.


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