Ottawa residents, community groups told to cancel Halloween party plans as COVID-19 cases rise

OTTAWA — Ottawa kids will have to wait another week or so to find out whether they can dress-up and go trick-or-treating around the neighbourhood on Halloween.

However, as cases of COVID-19 rise in Ottawa, community groups, churches and households are being told to cancel Halloween-themed events in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Three weeks before ghost and goblins take over Ottawa streets, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is asking people to limit their Halloween celebrations to their household contacts only.

“We are in the midst of a significant resurgence and all of us need to reduce our close contacts in order to flatten this curve,” said Dr. Brent Moloughney, Ottawa’s Associate Medical Officer of Health.

“As such, OPH is advising community officials and residents not to host or encourage Halloween parties or gatherings this year.”

Ottawa Public Health says advice around trick-or-treating on Halloween will be released next week. Dr. Moloughney notes while you can do things at home to make Halloween special, trick-or-treating is a different situation.

“Trick or treating is an in-between, because you’ve got the potential for children to be congregating from different households, you have the challenge of them going up to doors, you have the challenge of transferring candy,” said Dr. Moloughney.

“There’s some challenges there. We’re waiting to hear from the province, who has told us they’ll be providing some guidance for Halloween.”

Dr. Moloughney says Ottawa Public Health will need to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa and the risk of transmission before issuing guidance on trick-or-treating.

Ottawa Public Health recommends holding a scavenger hunt with your children instead of taking them trick-or-treating or hosting a scary movie night.

Dr. Moloughney says Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa have received inquiries from community groups and the public about what’s allowed for Halloween celebrations.

“We were getting questions a week or so ago because people are planning Halloween events, and so we want to give them a heads-up to say listen we really advise you not to be planning these type of events at this point.”

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