Halloween Public Health Guidelines

The Government of  Nova Scotia  is reminding all residents of current public health guidelines and providing specific advice around Halloween as the holiday approaches.

"Halloween is a fun celebration but I am concerned about parties and behaviours that would see us letting our guard down," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "I urge Nova Scotians to make informed decisions before choosing to attend or host Halloween parties or events. We have been fortunate to have few or no new cases recently, but as we have seen with our neighbouring provinces, COVID-19 can quickly find its way back into our communities. We must continue to follow all public health measures."

Tips for Halloween celebrations:
-- adhere to the gathering limits and celebrate with family and friends from your consistent group of 10. People can continue to gather in close social groups of up to 10 without physical distancing
-- if attending a party or event at a home, the gathering limit is 10 people
-- if attending a community event, 50 people with physical distancing is the maximum both indoors and outdoors. A physical distance of two metres/six feet must always be maintained from people outside of your close social group of 10
-- if attending an event held by a recognized business, 50 per cent of the venue's capacity up to 200 people maximum is permitted indoors, or 250 outdoors. A physical distance of two metres/six feet must always be maintained from people outside of your close social group of 10
-- requirements for wearing masks in indoor public places need to be followed
-- don't replace your non-medical mask with a Halloween costume mask. Most Halloween masks that cover the whole face have holes for breathing. While this type of mask is fine to wear outdoors or in your home, it is not a non-medical mask that fits snugly and protects others
-- practise good hand washing, cough/sneeze etiquette and regular cleaning of common surfaces
-- only serve food and drinks if physical distancing and good hand hygiene practices are being followed. If you do choose to offer food, it should be either serve yourself from pre-served single servings, or a single person designated to serve food and beverages.  Now is not the time to be sharing food or drinks or using common serving cutlery

If you are planning on trick-or-treating, here are some important things to consider:
-- do not go trick-or-treating if you are feeling unwell or are self-isolating
-- only trick-or-treat with people you live with, or friends from your close social group, and no more than 10 people
-- if you see other kids getting treats from a house or pass another group on the street, stay six feet away and wait until they leave before proceeding
-- if a house does not have any lights on, Halloween decorations or has a sign saying they are not participating, skip the house and go on to the next house
-- try to trick-or-treat in outdoor spaces. If that is not possible and you need to trick-or-treat indoors, wear a non-medical mask and adhere to the gathering limits
-- keep conversations short. Do not sing or shout in exchange for Halloween candy
-- try not to ring doorbells; instead gently knock on the door
 -- do not take treats in situations where everyone has to reach into a single container
-- bring hand sanitizer with you and clean your hands often, especially if you are putting on and taking off a mask or face covering and touching high-touch surfaces
-- wash your hands as soon as you get home
-- wash your hands before and after handling and eating your treats. There is no need to clean, disinfect or quarantine treats

Advice for households giving out treats:
-- do not participate in any Halloween activities, including handing out store bought pre-packaged treats if you are feeling unwell or self-isolating
-- if you are not participating in trick-or-treating this year, turn off your lights, take down decorations and put up a sign saying you are not participating
-- if possible, sit on your porch, driveway, front yard or at your front door welcoming trick-or-treaters
-- if you are unable to sit outside then regularly clean and disinfect doorbells, handrails, door handles
-- wash your hands often throughout the evening with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
-- try to have only one person from your household give out treats
-- do not have many hands reaching into the same container. Use tongs or other utensils to hand out treats or place individual amounts on a table
-- wear a non-medical mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained
-- do not ask trick-or-treaters to sing or shout for their treats

Guidance for upcoming holidays will be released by the Province closer to the date of each holiday and will reflect the epidemiology of the province at that time.


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