Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadians to adhere to local health guidelines when considering how to celebrate Halloween next week.
The question of how to handle the spooky evening is top of mind for many parents who are trying to assess a patchwork of regional health advice, guidance and stern warnings against trick-or-treating.
Health authorities in Ontario have advised against it in the hot spots of Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Ottawa.
But Quebec Premier François Legault has said the pastime can go ahead if participants wear face masks and head out with family rather than friends, even though the province is Canada’s viral epicentre.
Trudeau acknowledged the difficulty involved in forgoing Halloween.
“We know that it’s not easy, and it’s frustrating,” he said Tuesday. “Unfortunately all of us are having to make sacrifices of different types, particularly kids.”
The prime minister’s own children will likely be staying home, given Ottawa’s Stage 2 designation.
“A friend of mine suggested that maybe we could do an Easter-style treasure hunt for candy throughout the house and yard, and that’s something that we’re also reflecting on,” Trudeau said.
“I think families will be creative in how they respond to giving their kids as fun a holiday as we can while always listening to public health officials and respecting local guidelines.”
The COVID-19 death toll has continued its grim march over the last few days, nearing 10,000 in Canada as severe illness caused by the pandemic rises and hospitalizations ramp up, the country’s top physician said Tuesday.
The total number of deaths reached 9,778 on Monday, with than 950 patients currently in hospital including nearly 200 in critical care, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.
Canada has now seen 201,437 cases, including close to 22,000 active ones currently, according to numbers compiled Monday evening.
Tam said Tuesday 3,289 new cases were reported, 27 per cent of which came from Quebec with 25 per cent from Ontario.
The Canadian Press