Celebrate Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en safely

The province has introduced additional public health measures in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases in Ontario. As our community prepares for fall celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en, make sure your celebrations are as safe as possible.

Remember that provincial gathering limits for private events are now:

  • 10 people for indoor events or gatherings
  • 25 people for outdoor events or gatherings

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together.

Also, the province now advises Ontarians to allow close contact only with people living in their own household. Please maintain two metres physical distancing from anyone not in your household. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

This Thanksgiving, consider other ways to connect with family and friends:

  • Call or video chats
  • Online celebrations or dinner parties
  • Write letters or send cards
  • Contactless delivery of gifts or treats
  • Go on a family walk.

Although Hallowe’en is almost four weeks off, start thinking about ways to do things differently. Instead of in-person Hallowe’en parties, consider an online celebration and video chats instead.

Try to include a non-medical mask as part of your costume. Don’t wear costume masks over top of non-medical masks or face coverings as that may make it difficult to breathe.

Trick-or-treating can be done in a safer manner:

  • Anyone who is sick or self-isolating must stay home.
    • Avoid trick-or-treating in busy areas or indoors (in places like malls) since there may not be enough space to distance. Indoor spaces may require a non-medical mask or face covering.
    • Trick-or-treat in your household group.
    • Leave space between you and other groups to reduce crowding on stairs and sidewalks.
    • Wash your hands before you go out, when you get home, and before eating treats.
    • Do not touch your face.
    • Keep hand sanitizer with you if eating treats on the go.

If handing out treats:

  • Turn off your porch light and stay at home if you are sick or self-isolating.
    • Use tongs, a baking sheet or make a candy slide to give more space when handing out candy.  
    • Hand out sealed, prepackaged, individual treats instead of offering a shared bowl.  
    • Wear a non-medical mask that covers your nose and mouth when handing out treats.  
    • Be more outside than inside.  If you can, stand outside your door to hand out treats. Then kids won’t need to touch the door or doorbell.  
    • If you’re unable to sit outside to hand out treats, clean and disinfect doorbells and knobs, handrails, and any other high touch surface often during the evening
    • If you are decorating, avoid props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines.  
    • Stick to the treats – not tricks such as screaming, startling or chasing people.

One of the most difficult things about our new normal is that traditions are upended. But we can do something about it:

  • Think about traditions you are able to continue. Make a recipe, sing a traditional song or read a book.
  • Start a new tradition – try calling an old friend or finding a new way to be active.
  • Consider what you can do to help others in the community or let others know if you need help. Call 211 to find programs and services in your community.

“Not being able to connect with our friends and loved ones in the ways we are used to is difficult,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health. “But while there is disappointment and frustration, there is also resilience and caring.  Please continue to create new, safer ways to be social. We all need to think about how we can contribute on a personal, family and organizational level; and we need to remain kind to others who are making the best decisions they can based on their circumstances and needs.”

Remember, no action is too small. If we continue to work hard now, we have a better chance at seeing the benefits of our efforts sooner.

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