Trick-or-treaters go door-to-door in Riverdale on Halloween in 2015. This year, trick-or-treaters are being encouraged to knock on doors with a witch’s broom or pirate sword, but trick-or-treating is still being permitted this year despite COVID-19. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Halloween trick-or-treating given green light

While COVID-19 might be the scariest thing about October this year, trick-or-treating is still being permitted this Halloween with a number of precautions still being recommended to reduce risk.

“With proper precautions, it’s OK for children to go trick-or-treating. They should wear a non-medical mask or face covering when appropriate, or consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask. They should trick-or-treat with those within their consistent social bubble and not gather on or crowd doorsteps,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley at a press conference on Sept. 30.

“If you are distributing candy to trick-or-treaters consider how you can do it safely,” he said.

Only one person should be handing out candy in a household and only pre-packaged, store-bought goodies should be handed out this year. Households might also consider using a tool like tongs or a hockey stick to distribute candy outside, at a distance.

Hanley also suggested that communal buckets left out should be avoided this year and that costumes could be strategic — a witch’s broom or pirate sword, for example, might be useful for socially-distant door knocking.

For those that remain uncomfortable with the trick-or-treating, Hanley said public health will develop some festive suggestions in order to make sure no children are left out.

“Children have lost so much already as a result of COVID. But with some careful guidance we can make Halloween still happen in Yukon,” he said.

Thanksgiving is another fast-approaching holiday that would normally see large groups gathering to share food. Hanley said groups should be mindful of the existing rules that allow groups of no more than 10 people inside at a time.

“Some people are planning outdoor gatherings to accommodate larger family groups or even serving dinner in shifts,” he said. “These are some of the actions that you can take to reduce the risk of yourself and your household and your guests while still enjoying all of these things and the festivities.”

Precautions for singing and musical performances are also being reevaluated under the pandemic rules.

Singers and musicians should keep a minimum of two metres apart, not facing each other while playing and any audiences should be located either four metres away or behind Plexiglas. Good ventilation and shorter rehearsals are also being recommended.

“There’s always that chance if we see an increase in the number of cases that we may have to put restrictions back in place,” Hanley said.

The Yukon government also said changes are coming at the Alaska Highway and Highway 37 borders. Beginning Oct. 1 the enforcement officers will transition from a 24-hour schedule to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Travellers arriving outside those hours will still be required to sign a self-declaration at a kiosk.

“If you intentionally provide incorrect information or do not stop and declare yourself as required, it is considered an offence under CEMA and individuals will be charged,” said Community Services Minister John Streicker.

On Sept. 29 a woman was charged with a failure to provide a declaration and failure to self-isolate. There have been a total of 12 people charged, and 17 total charges laid under the Civil Emergency Measures Act.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

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