Halloween trick-or-treating is back in Ottawa this year, Etches says

Ottawa's medical officer of health says she expects Halloween to go ahead this year, with children trick-or-treating, but families should take some precautions to protect unvaccinated children.

Keep Halloween gatherings outside, wear masks, one family at the door at a time

Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says trick-or-treating is back in 2021. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says she expects Halloween to return this year with some precautions.

Etches said trick-or-treating can be done safely since it is outdoors, but certain precautions must be taken to protect children who are not yet vaccinated.

She recommends outdoor gatherings only, while keeping them as small as possible, while trick-or-treating one family at a time and wearing a mask. 

Last year, Ottawa residents were encouraged to stay at home on Halloween night. One year later, 84 per cent of Ottawa residents born in 2009 or earlier are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Things are different this year. We have really good protection from the vaccine for more vulnerable populations," she told Robyn Bresnahan, host of CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, also released safety advice for Halloween at his weekly news conference Thursday afternoon.

Dr. Vera Etches says the vaccine has allowed for Ottawa families to trick or treat in 2021 after they were encouraged to stay home last Halloween. (CBC)

4th wave much better place than 2nd wave

Last October, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was in Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health reported more than 100 new cases per day. Just two weeks before Halloween 2020, the nation's capital had the highest per-capita rate of transmission in the province and a growing number of people in hospital with COVID-19.

The city is currently reporting about 40 new cases per day, a much lower per-capita rate, and a stable number of people in hospital, which has allowed for a return to something that closely resembles a normal Halloween.

Etches acknowledged families will likely gather, but she encouraged residents to continue to follow public health guidelines even when outdoors. 

She said she encourages those with vulnerable family members to consider risk levels and "to find what's best for them." 


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