The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has released a guide for families and kids hoping to go trick-or-treating this Halloween, as well as for any other upcoming gatherings including Thanksgiving.
The CDC said that children can trick-or-treat this year as long as they take the appropriate precautions, including looking for candy only in their neighbourhood, instead of travelling across their communities. Trick-or-treating in malls or other indoor spaces is not recommended, and groups are asked to stay small. The CDC does not recommend cleaning each candy bar before eating but advises instead that kids use hand sanitizer or wash their hands before and after having a treat. Wearing a non-medical mask that covers the mouth and nose is recommended, although health officials warned against wearing a second, costume mask on top.
Homes hoping to hand out candy are being asked to avoid handing treats directly to kids. Instead, the CDC recommends using tongs, placing candy on a tray and not using a shared bowl. People handing out treats are asked to wear a non-medical mask and stand outside for better ventilation and to avoid kids touching the doorbell. If decorating, don’t use smoke machines or anything that could cause coughing.
People who are quarantined or self-isolating are being told to leave their houses dark, while trick-or-treaters are asked to avoid homes that aren’t lit up with Halloween decorations.
Both kids and adults are asked to avoid Halloween parties this year, sticking to their pandemic bubbles of six or less for any gatherings.
The CDC also released guidelines for for “safer celebrations” as a whole. The next holiday is Thanksgiving on Oct. 12.
“Keep gatherings small, local and within your social group this year,” the agency urged. Party hosts are encouraged to only meet up indoors with their pandemic bubble of six people or fewer, and to check to make sure that no attendees are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.
For indoor gatherings, the CDC said that more ventilation, bigger rooms and less time spent together are key to reducing the risk of transmission. As far as food and drinks go, the CDC recommended limiting alcohol or any substances that could make it more likely for people to lower their inhibitions and not follow best practices. The agency recommended not having buffet style meals and providing hand washing and sanitizing opportunities for people and discouraging them from sharing drinks or plates.
The CDC said there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread when people eat food prepared by others. However, frequent hand-washing and not cooking or attending gatherings when experiencing symptoms is key to reducing the spread of the virus.
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