From the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU):
The SMDHU wants this Halloween to be fun and safe for everyone celebrating this weekend. Following public health safety measures will help ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy treats and no tricks this Halloween.
Whether you are going trick-or-treating or choosing to give out treats, the health unit reminds everyone to follow public health safety precautions to help protect against spreading COVID-19. These precautions include not handing out candy and not going trick or treating if you are sick, even with mild symptoms.
There are additional precautions you should take depending on your planned activities.
If you trick-or-treat door-to-door:
• Be outdoors as much as possible. If indoors maintain physical distancing, or if physical distancing is difficult, wear a face covering.
• Avoid singing or shouting for your treats.
• Be creative and build the face covering into your costume. NOTE: A costume mask is not a face covering. Costume masks should NOT be worn over a non-medical mask or face covering because it can make it hard to breathe.
• Do not crowd doorsteps; take turns, one at a time.
If you choose to give out treats:
• Do not participate in Halloween festivities if you have symptoms, even if they are mild.
• Keep interactions with trick-or-treaters short and encourage them to move along after receiving their treat from you.
• Only give out purchased and packaged treats.
• Consider wearing a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
• Wash hands often.
Halloween is not just about trick or treating and many people enjoy gathering with friends to celebrate. The health unit reminds the public that indoor social gatherings are limited to 25 people and 100 people outdoors under Ontario’s Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen.
If you decide to host or attend a Halloween gathering be sure to adhere to the following measures to keep yourself and others safe:
• Have the fewest number of people possible at your party or gathering and use outdoor spaces whenever possible. Do not exceed the gathering limits.
• If all guests are fully vaccinated, you may consider removing face coverings if everyone is comfortable with this. If guests are from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccination status is unknown, you should wear a face covering and physically distance.
• Make a list of guests attending in case public health needs it for contact tracing.
• If you are serving food and drinks, remember to wash your hands often while preparing and serving food and suggest all those gathered do so before and after eating.
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and open windows, if possible; provide all the necessary supplies, including hand sanitizer, soap and water.
• If you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease and/or exposure to COVID-19, consider joining virtually or not attending the event.
Whatever your Halloween plans are this year, SMDHU reminds everyone to follow current public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including staying home when feeling ill, maintaining a physical distance of at least 2 metres from those living outside of your household, wearing a mask indoors and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible, covering your cough, and washing your hands regularly.
For more information about how to protect yourself from COVID-19, please visit www.smdhu.org/stopthespread.
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