Ontario’s top doc offers guidelines for celebrating Thanksgiving and Halloween

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Ontario’s top doc offers guidelines for celebrating Thanksgiving and Halloween's Profile



Celebrating Thanksgiving and Halloween will be a bit different this year.

Last year for Thanksgiving people were told to just gather with those in their own household.

Thanks to high COVID-19 vaccination rates, the recommendations have changed.

On Thursday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said more traditional Thanksgiving and Halloween celebrations can go ahead this year, though with some COVID-19 precautions still in place.

Here’s a breakdown of the recommendations:

Hosting indoor and outdoor events

As part of your celebrations, you may have a gathering with people you don’t live with. However, it is important to continue following good public health practices.

If you choose to host an in-person gathering:

  • do not exceed the gathering limit of 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • have the fewest number of people possible at your gathering
  • use outdoor spaces whenever possible
  • provide all the necessary supplies, including hand sanitizer, soap and water
  • open windows, if possible
  • clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • ask guests not to attend if they have symptoms, even if they are mild
  • make a list of guests attending in case you need it for contact tracing
  • remind people of public health advice to follow during the event
  • wash your hands before and frequently when preparing and serving food
  • have everyone wash their hands before and after eating

If you choose to attend an in-person gathering:

  • you should not attend if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild
  • wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the event
  • consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease or exposure to 

When to wear face coverings

Regardless of where you are, you can wear a face covering and physically distance if you feel it is right for you, especially if you or others are immunocompromised or at high-risk of severe disease or exposure to .

Indoors

When gathering indoors:

  • with a group of fully vaccinated individuals, you may consider removing your face covering if everyone is comfortable
  • with people from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or status is unknown, you should wear a face covering and physically distance

Outdoors

When gathering outdoors:

  • with a group of fully vaccinated individuals, no face covering or physical distancing is necessary
  • with people from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccination status is unknown, you should consider wearing a face covering if physical distancing cannot be maintained

Celebrating Halloween

If you trick-or-treat door-to-door:

  • stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild
  • trick-or-treat outdoors as much as possible
  • be creative and build the face covering into your costume. Remember that a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering. A costume mask should not be worn over a non-medical mask or face covering because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.
  • do not crowd doorsteps – take turns one at a time
  • do not sing or shout for your treats
  • keep interactions brief with those giving out treats
  • use hand sanitizer often, especially before and after handling your face covering, after touching frequently touched surfaces, when you arrive home from trick-or-treating, and before and after handling or eating treats
  • there is no need to clean or disinfect pre-packaged treats

If trick-or-treating indoors, maintain physical distancing as much as possible and wear a face covering, especially when physical distancing is a challenge.

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
  • consider wearing a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • consider including the face covering as part of your costume if you are dressing up
  • give out only purchased and packaged treats
  • do not ask trick-or-treaters to sing or shout for their treats
  • clean your hands often throughout the evening using soap and water or with hand sanitizer

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