Halloween and COVID-19: Guidelines released by B.C. Centre for Disease Control
VANCOUVER -- With Halloween less than four weeks away, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control has released its guidelines for the holiday amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Celebrate less socially and trick-or-treat locally this Halloween," is the BCCDC's slogan for the upcoming holiday.
Health officials are encouraging all British Columbians to avoid large gatherings and to celebrate with people in their "bubbles."
"Celebrate with your favourite Halloween movie or other traditions that you can do with your household or social group," the health agency says on its website.
Halloween celebrations should be with no more than six people and all attendees should know and be able to contact everyone in attendance.
"Don't pass around snacks, drinks, smokes, tokes and vapes," warns the BCCDC.
It says outdoor venues are the safest, but well-ventilated indoor settings can also work.
Avoid using props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines.
Also be careful with hand sanitizer and open flames as hand sanitizer is very flammable.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, said last month that trick-or-treating can be done safely during a pandemic.
The BCCDC is encouraging families to keep to their local neighbourhoods this year.
Avoid busy areas or indoors in places like malls, since there may not be enough space to distance.
Like gatherings, trick-or-treating groups should be no larger than six people and should have enough space between them and other groups to reduce crowding on stairs and sidewalks.
Trick-or-treaters should also wash their hands before going out, when they get home and before eating treats. Keeping hand sanitizer is also a good idea when eating treats on the go.
"You don’t need to clean every treat. You should instead wash your hands after handling treats and not touch your face," the BCCDC says.
Those handing out candy are urged to get creative in order to allow for physical distancing.
"Use tongs, a baking sheet or make a candy slide to give more space when handing out candy," suggests the BCCDC.
Plan to hand out individual treats instead of offering a shared bowl and only hand out sealed, pre-packaged treats.
Wear a non-medical mask covering the nose and mouth when answering the door.
If possible, stand outside 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," says the BCCDC.
Henry said last week that guidance on several upcoming holidays will be released soon.