Quebec children can enjoy Halloween this year — but with some conditions
Premier says some red zone regulations may be extended into next month, but trick-or-treating will be allowed
Children across the province will be allowed to go trick-or-treating this year, but with strict public health regulations in place, Quebec Premier François Legault announced Thursday.
Children will have to remain with members of their own household and cannot celebrate the day with their friends this year, he said. Those giving away candy will also need to ensure they stay two metres away from the trick-or-treaters.
"Halloween happens outside. We know that the outdoors is less risky than indoors," said Legault.
Legault suggested that, in order to ensure the two-metre rule is respected, people get creative.
He proposed sliding candy through a long tube, or placing individual bags of candy in a basket on their porches, and having children take one each, without touching the other bags.
He emphasized that Halloween should be for children only this year, and that there should be no parties organized.
"It hasn't been easy for the last eight months for our children," said Legault.
Legault also repeated comments he made earlier this week, warning people that large Christmas gatherings will likely not be permitted this year. He said it is too soon to say exactly what the guidelines will be this winter, but that Quebecers should start preparing for the likelihood of a smaller holiday season.
On Tuesday, Canada's top doctor, Dr. Teresa Tam, said there was no need to cancel Halloween this year but advised parents and kids to maintain physical distancing while trick-or-treating outside, to stick to pre-packaged treats and to have hand sanitizer readily available.
But, she said, whether trick-or-treating is permitted should depend on the province's caseload. In New Brunswick for instance, trick-or-treating is not permitted in orange zones.
Some measures may be extended into November
With just two weeks to go until measures were supposed to be lifted in the province's red zones, including Quebec City, Montreal and the Chaudières-Appalaches region, Legault said Thursday that he believes some of the regulations will need to remain in place long after Oct. 28.
Though it's too soon to say which restrictions will be prolonged, Legault said he hopes to see intramural sports make a comeback in schools soon.
But all of this depends on the number of cases the province is experiencing.
"We have some good news though," said Legault. "We have reached a plateau of about 1,000 cases per day."
But Quebec also saw a grim jump in deaths Thursday, with 28 more reported, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours, and most of which occurred in the past week.
"It's true that there are lives at stake here," Legault said.
Health Minister Christian Dubé added that, with cases numbers and hospitalization rates growing these past few weeks, a jump in deaths was inevitable. He said the province has averaged 10 deaths per day in the past week.
"One death is a death too many so 28 is way too many," said Dubé.
He stressed that Quebecers need to make an effort to get case numbers back down, in order to prevent further deaths.
As of Wednesday, the province had a seven-day positivity rate of 7.64 per cent — it was 6.66 per cent at this time last week.
The positivity rate is a measure of how many tests out of every 100 conducted come back positive. If a higher percentage of results come back positive, it suggests the disease is spreading and there are cases in the community that haven't been detected.'
At the height of the first wave last April, the province saw a positivity rate of 17.94 per cent.