Halloween Safety During COVID-19

Halloween is a popular celebration, but due to COVID-19, play it safe. Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading illness, so continuing with them in the middle of COVID-19 is not recommended. The key is to find a balance between keeping safe while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy.

This Halloween, consider safer alternatives that can be done close to home. You and your family can still celebrate the season in ‘spooktacular’ fashion – along with peace of mind.


On This Page:


Trick-or-Treating
  • The Health Unit recommends rethinking the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating this year due to COVID-19 concerns. Instead, find creative ways to celebrate the season at home.
  • Print and display an appropriate poster to tell neighbours if you are handing out treats. Select either the Welcome Trick or Treaters poster or Sorry See You Next Year version.
  • If you want to hand out candy to hearty trick-or-treaters, plan for success. Ideally, do so outside being sure to wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Consider setting up a table or chair at the end of your walk or driveway to make handing out candy easier. Do NOT leave treats in bucket or bowl for kids to graband-go in order to avoid kids crowding around the treats.
  • Wear a face covering and use tongs or similar tools (even the end of a hockey stick) to safely hand out candy (or individually-wrapped goodie bags) while ensuring you maintain a 2-metre (6 foot) distance from trick-or-treaters.
  • Drop treats on your neighbour’s doorsteps, ring the bell, and run away! Make sure to include a spooky note letting your neighbour know they’re from you.
  • If your children are going out trick-or-treating, be sure everyone takes COVID-19 precautions:
    • Do NOT allow your children to go out if they are ill. Parents should also stay home if they are sick.
    • Only go out trick-or-treating with members of your direct household.
    • Only go trick-or-treating outdoors.
    • Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others at all times while trick-or-treating. Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps. Line up 2 metres (6-feet) apart if waiting. Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects.
    • Ensure your child wears a proper face covering while trick-or-treating. Choose a costume that makes wearing a mask or face covering easy for your child. Ensure the mask fits well and covers the nose, mouth and chin. Consider building the face covering into your child’s costume (cloth face masks can be made out of different fabrics to allow them to be part of a costume) .NOTE: A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering. Do not put a costume mask over a face covering as this makes breathing difficult.
    • Wash hands with soap and water before trick-or-treating, when you return home and before snacking.
    • Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you to use while trick-or-treating.
    • Leave any treats you collect for at least 24 hours. Have some ready-to-enjoy favourites set aside for children to enjoy when they return from trick-or-treating.
Halloween at Home

Consider these safer alternatives to do at home:

  • Buy treats for your children and enjoy them at home while watching a scary movie together.
  • Decorate for Halloween inside and outside your home and have children carve pumpkins to add to the festive display.
  • Showcase Halloween craft projects on your porch and in your front windows for your neighbours to enjoy.
  • Craft a countdown calendar – pick a fun Halloween activity to do each day or each weekend in October leading up to the big day.
  • Plan your own monster mash or ‘Halloween-at-home’ party. Get children to dress up in costume to mark the festivities.
  • Make your own spooky treats such as: clementine jack-o-lanterns, monster mix, or ghostly cookies.
  • Organize a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given holiday-themed items to look for around your home or property. You can also hide treats in different spots and get children to find them.
  • Do an ‘at-home’ version of trick-or-treating by setting up treat stations around your home that children can visit for goodies.
  • Pick out some Halloween themed books to read together.
  • Set up a piñata at home filled with your favourite Halloween treats.
  • Organize and hold a socially distanced costume parade with a few of your neighbours and keep the treats at home to enjoy afterwards.
  • Host a virtual party – set up video chats with friends and family members who can’t celebrate with you. Encourage children to show off their costumes and talk about their favourite treats.
  • Take photos of children dressed in Halloween costume and email/share with grandparents and older relatives who can’t be there in person.  
Social Gatherings
  • Avoid attending Halloween parties or social gatherings — especially those indoors. While Ontario does allow small indoor gatherings of 10 or fewer people and large outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, being in a social setting with others increases your risk of COVID-19. With cases on the rise in Ontario, it’s best not to take any chances.
  • Do not attend costume parties at other people’s homes. Instead, organize your own at home.
  • Avoid indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming, increasing your risk of COVID-19.
  • If you do decide to attend a social gathering, follow COVID-19 precautions. Stay home if sick. Keep a 2 metre (6 foot) physical from others. Wear a mask or face covering. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
Additional Resources

Hunting and COVID-19

Fall is a busy time for hunting in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Whether hunting moose, deer or other animals, it’s also important to take aim at COVID-19 by preventing its spread. Here how to stay safe and make the most of your hunting experience during the pandemic.

NOTE: Due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health is urging everyone to limit trips outside of home for only essential purposes like work, school, groceries, medical appointments and outdoor physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions of Ontario — especially those areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission to places with low COVID-19 transmission rates — should only be for essential purposes as well. Please keep this in mind before deciding to go hunting.

On This Page

Hunting and COVID-19 Prevention

Before You Go

  • Do not put other hunters or individuals at risk. If you’re sick with COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and self-isolate. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool to see what to do next or call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.
  • If going to a hunt camp, follow any travel advisories. Before going out, also consider COVID-19 transmission rates in the area where you want to hunt.
  • Ensure physical distancing on the drive to the hunt camp/site. Stick to 2 people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver. Masks should also be worn on the trip. The only exception to this 2-person limit is if travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.
  • Pack supplies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, face coverings/masks, and cleaning/disinfectant supplies.

At Your Hunting Site/Hunt Camp

  • Keep hunting groups at one camp to 10 people or less to comply with Ontario’s indoor gathering limits. The exception would be if people can divide into groups of 10 or less, each with its separate accommodations such as tents, trailers, or separate buildings (and each of which would have its own specific indoor gathering limit). In this case, the maximum number of people allowed on the entire camp property would be up to 25 people (as per Ontario’s limit on outdoor gatherings).
  • Keep your distance from others. While camp life is often communal, try to maintain 2 metres (6 feet) from other hunters who are outside your household.
  • Bring your own tent/trailer in which to sleep and cook. This reduces your exposure to others.
  • If physical distancing isn’t possible, wear face coverings/masks. This applies at camp or in hunting blinds (especially if enclosed).
  • Socialize outdoors rather than inside buildings. Being outdoors reduces the spread of COVID-19.
  • Avoid buffet-style meals. Have people prepare/cook their own meals, ideally in their own tent/trailer. If eating a meal together, have one person make/serve the meal and have them wear a face covering while doing so.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water. If you don’t have access to soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect common and high-touch surfaces at the camp.
  • Do not share hunting gear/equipment or personal items (e.g. cigarettes, drinks, cutlery). It’s best to only use your own items.
  • Track the names and contact information of people in your hunting party, just in case contact tracing is needed should someone get COVID-19.
  • NOTE: Conservation Officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have the power to enforce and issue fines for breaches of COVID-19 gathering limits and other rules.

If someone develops one or more symptoms of COVID-19 while hunting, have a plan to communicate with the group and have the individual self-isolate immediately. Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, for further direction. Contact 911 if symptoms are severe.

Hunting Safety Rules
  • All hunters must wear solid hunter orange clothing (minimum 400 square inches above the waist) and a hunter orange head cover during gun seasons for deer, moose and elk. Outside the gun season for deer, moose and elk, these requirements also apply to bear hunters who are not hunting from a tree stand.
  • Handle firearms with care and attention at all times. 
  • Never shoot unless you are absolutely sure of your target and what lies beyond it. 
  • It’s illegal to shoot from a vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle.
  • It is illegal to discharge a firearm from or across the travelled portion of a right of way for public vehicular traffic. 
  • Never drink alcohol and hunt.
  • If you hunt from a tree stand, always wear a safety harness and use a rope to raise and lower your unloaded firearm.

Source: Ontario Provincial Police

General Safety Tips
  • Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will be returning.
  • Know the weather conditions in your hunting area and dress accordingly.                      
  • In an emergency, stay calm and stay put.
  • Avoid hypothermia. Know how to treat it if it strikes.
  • Keep rested, hydrated and well-nourished.
  • Carry a survival kit and a small first aid kit with you at all times.
  • Know how to build a fire in all weather conditions and carry the supplies to start one.
  • Carry a map and compass or GPS unit and know how to use them.
Additional Resources

Apartments and Multi-Unit Dwellings

NOTE: The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). Please ensure you follow this new requirement. Failure to do so could lead to fines for the event host and people attending the function.

FURTHER NOTE: Social circles (or bubbles) are now on pause in Ontario. People are encouraged to only have close contact with others in their immediate household. Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

If you own or manage a multi-unit building, it’s important to protect your tenants from COVID-19. Proper screening, cleaning, physical distancing and other measures are essential to reduce the spread of illness. Here’s what you need to do:

Screening

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting, especially in common areas. High-touch surfaces (like doorknobs, light switches, phones, elevator buttons, stairwells, shared washrooms and garbage facilities) should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day, and when visibly dirty.
  • Be careful when handling waste, and ensure you wash hands thoroughly afterwards with soap and running water. Line garbage cans with plastic bags if possible and avoid direct contact with soiled items in the garbage
  • For Shared Laundry Rooms: Both sick and healthy households need to use laundry rooms to wash dirty laundry.  Clean and disinfect the machine controls frequently.  You may also need to put up limits to the number of people in the laundry room at a time, to ensure physical distancing. Put up this poster for tips on using shared laundry facilities.

Mask Use

  • The Ontario government is now mandating that face coverings/non-medical masks MUST be worn in common areas, hallways, lobbies, etc. when you cannot keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others.

Physical Distancing

  • Promote physical distancing in your building. Urge people to keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart – roughly the length of a hockey stick. Put up this poster in all common areas to send a clear message.
  • Put in place measures at your building to reinforce physical distancing. Stagger times to use laundry facilities, limit the number of people gathering in shared spaces, and move furnishings like chairs further apart to create more space.  
  • Limit capacity on elevators to ensure physical distancing. Post a sign indicating no more than two or three people should use the elevator at once. 

What to do If Tenants/Residents Show COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Individuals in a private unit who show COVID-19 symptoms MUST self-isolate for 14 days and not leave home, unless they need medical care. If possible, check in with them by phone, email or text. Offer to get food/supplies and leave items at their doorway, ensuring no close contact.
  • If someone with COVID-19 symptoms lives in a shared space, support them to safely self-isolate for 14 days by ensuring they stay in a separate room, use a separate washroom (if possible) and keep a 2 metre distance from others. If this isn’t possible, review this link 
  • If someone experiences severe COVID-19 symptoms, seek immediate medical care. 
  • Be a good neighbour. Check in on people who may need assistance with getting groceries if they are self isolating. This reduces the need for them to leave their apartment.

COVID Alert Tracing App

Download a free, easy and safe-to-use app to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The federal and Ontario governments have teamed up to develop the new COVID Alert app that can be downloaded to your smartphone.

The COVID Alert app will:

  • Notify you if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19
  • Offer advice on what to do next
  • Let others who have been in close contact with you know if you test positive for the virus (without sharing personal information).

The app does not collect personal information or health data, and does not know or track the location, name, address, or contacts of any user.

The more people who download COVID Alert, the more effective it is. The app can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by more quickly identifying potential new cases and contacts.

To download or learn more, visit:

For more information about COVID Alert, contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email: info@hkpr.on.ca.

Public Settings – Safe Reopening During COVID-19

As more businesses, services and activities resume, the need to continue taking COVID-19 precautions is important. Read on for specific reopening guidelines/rules for different public settings and situations.

Please note that the Health Unit has also put in place instructions on the use of non-medical masks or face coverings inside public places. The Ontario government is also making face coverings mandatory in all indoor public places (masks must cover the mouth, nose and chin).

PLEASE NOTE: The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). The new limits do NOT apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Social circles (or bubbles) are now on pause in Ontario. this means you can only have close contact with people in your immediate household. Keep 2 metres (6 feet) physical distancing from everyone else.

If you have further questions, contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, or email info@hkpr.on.ca .

On This Page

Click on links below to easily access content for each public setting:

Community Centres
  • These facilities are for sports and recreational activities, including gyms and fitness studios
  • Physical distancing must be maintained, except if playing a team sport or as needed for personal training
  • Gyms and fitness facilities can now have up to 50 patrons for each indoor sport or fitness room, but must ensure physical distancing of at least two metres is in place.
  • For fitness classes and organized activities. It’s strongly recommended to assign spaces to class participants by marking circles on the floor to indicate where to stand/exercise. This allows for easier physical distancing.
  • As of Aug. 21, the current indoor gathering limit of 50 people will now apply on a per meeting room or event space basis at professional meeting and event facilities. These include convention centres, hotels, motels, resorts, banquet halls and conference centres.
  • Equipment must be cleaned and disinfected between users or at the end of a game.
  • Activities must not be practised or played if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • Washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or other amenities open to the public must be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Community rooms at these facilities are subject to the same physical distancing measure and gathering limits as noted above. In addition:
    • Table games/activities that do not allow for a safe 2-metre (6 foot) distance are not allowed
    • Communal kitchens and interior dining spaces in a community centre stay closed
    • Food concession stands may open
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside, or while exercising or swimming.
  • For specific fact sheets on restarting sports and recreation programs, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca
Day Camps
Pools, Splash Pads and Wading Pools
  • Locker rooms, change rooms, showers and washrooms must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as necessary to maintain a safe and sanitary environment
  • Access is not allowed to high-touch features such as pool slides, diving boards and climbing structures (only exception is ladders)
  • A pool, splash pad, spray pad, wading pool or whirlpool must comply with physical distancing requirements. This includes: operating with a reduced capacity or activity enrolment, and operating by appointment or timed entry
  • Equipment provided or rented to patrons must be cleaned and disinfected after each use
  • Steam rooms and saunas are not allowed to open at this time
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside, or while exercising or swimming.
Playgrounds and Play Structures
  • Outdoor playgrounds and play structures can now open. There are no recommendations for extra cleaning or disinfecting of these structures. Anyone who uses playground equipment is encouraged to wash hands with soap and water or perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand sanitizer after playing on them. Always stay home if you are sick.
  • For indoor playgrounds and play structures:
    • Physical distancing of at least 2-metres (6 feet) must be in place at all indoor facilities, except if individuals are in the same household or social circle.
    • Gathering limits of no more than 50 people must be followed at these indoor facilities.
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside
Team Sports/Live Sporting Events
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not allowed.
  • Team sports (like wrestling, judo) in which body contact is common or integral are not yet permitted, unless measures are in place to prevent prolonged or deliberate physical contact
  • Amateur and recreational sports leagues may resume as long as they do not allow prolonged or deliberate physical contact between players OR if measures are in place to avoid physical contact between players
  • Leagues can have no more than 50 participants in total. If a league goes over this limit, it may divide into smaller groups of no more than 50. Currently, players are not allowed to compete against others outside of their league/group.
  • Spectators at indoor sporting events (including professional sports) are limited to 50 people, while a maximum of 100 people are allowed at outdoor events (these totals do not include players or event participants). Physical distancing measures must be in place, with assigned seating where possible
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside, or while exercising.
  • For specific fact sheets on restarting sports and recreation programs, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca
Restaurant/Bars
  • Restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands, and other food/drink establishments may open for dine-in eating. No buffet-style service may be provided. Patrons must be seated when eating or drinking.
  • Bars, restaurants and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) must stop selling alcohol at 11 pm and close at midnight (except for takeout or delivery).
  • Capacity limits for dine-in eating are based on the ability of patrons to maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others. Establishments must take appropriate measures to ensure a 2-metre distance between tables (unless they are separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier)
  • Nightclubs are not allowed to open, except to serve food or drinks to patrons (must follow same rules that apply to restaurants/bars).
  • Singing or music may be performed by a person or group at the restaurant/bar with restrictions, such as physical distancing measures and barriers being put up between performers and patron.  Dancing may only be performed by someone working at the establishment with restrictions.
  • Physical distancing of 2-metres between patrons from different households also applies to food trucks, food courts, concession stands and tours (including tasting at wineries, breweries and distilleries)
  • For outdoor patios or dining areas, seating must be configured to allow at least 2-metres distance between tables. Patrons do not need to wear non-medical masks on patios.
  • Restaurants and bars must keep client logs (name and contact information) for every patron who frequents the business over the past 30 days. This information must be provided to the Health Unit for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes. NOTE: Food courts and cafeterias are exempt from this rule provided seating is set up to allow for 2 metre distance between patrons.
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings in restaurants/bars:
    • Patrons who come for dine-in eating must wear a mask upon entering and exiting the premises. Masks also need to be worn if they get up for anything during their meal (including using the washroom). Masks are not required when seated at a table
    • Restaurant servers who interact with customers must wear masks.
Live Shows, Performing Arts and Movie Theatres
  • Spectators at indoor events (like concerts and theatrical performances) are limited to 50 people, while a maximum of 100 people are allowed at outdoor events. Physical distancing measures must be in place, with assigned seating where possible. (NOTE: Employees/performers are not included in the crowd size)
  • Drive-through and drive-in venues are not subject to gathering limits.
  • Provide hand sanitizer in key areas like lobby.
  • In concession areas, self-serve is prohibited. Where refills are offered, a new cup/dish must be provided to reduce contact.
  • Singers and brass/wind instrument players must be separated from any spectators by plexiglass or another impermeable barrier.
  • Every performer or employees of the performing arts centre/theatre must maintain a physical distance of at least 2-metres from every other person, except for:
    • Performances and rehearsals
    • The purchase of tickets/admission, food or beverages
    • Health and safety reasons
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside
  • Movie theatres should stagger showtimes, encourage online purchases to reduce cash transactions, encourage guests to only arrive 15 minutes prior to the movie, remove/close off equipment and furniture to reduce loitering, and increase cleaning/disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.
  • Arcade/game rooms are prohibited.
Seniors Halls
  • Indoor gathering limits are limited to 50 people, while outdoor gatherings are capped at 100 people (employees not included).
  • Physical distancing must be in place.
  • No table games (e.g. cards, etc.) are allowed.
  • Ensure equipment (e.g. darts, etc.) is properly cleaned and disinfected between each use. Activities must not be practised or played if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • Put up posters encouraging handwashing
  • Post screening signage at entrances.
Weddings
  • Indoor weddings are limited to 50 people, while a maximum of 100 people is allowed at outdoor weddings. NOTE: These crowd limits apply if a wedding is held at a private home. If a wedding is held in a public hall, building or structure, the gathering must not exceed 30% of the capacity of the particular room
  • All wedding attendees must follow 2-metre physical distancing rules.
  • No buffet-style dinner is allowed. Guests must be seated when eating or drinking. Seating must be configured so that guests at different tables are separated by: a distance of 2 metres OR plexiglass or another impermeable barrier.
  • No one is allowed to dance, sing or perform music except if they are a hired performer, musician or entertainer. To perform, they must:
    • Be separated from guests and other performers by plexiglass or another impermeable barrier while singing or performing on a brass/wind instrument
    • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2-meters from every other person while singing or performing music
    • Clean and disinfect equipment used while singing or performing music between each use.
  • There is one exception to the dancing rule: a first dance is allowed for the bride and groom and their parents
  • Singing is not allowed during the wedding service.
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings at weddings:
    • Guests must wear a non-medical mask upon entering/exiting the venue. Masks can be removed when seated.
    • Guests who need to get up for anything during the service or meal (such as going to the washroom) must re-mask.
    • The bride and groom are not required to wear a mask during wedding vows. The officiant (priest/minister) is not required to wear a mask if he/she maintains 2-metre physical distance
    • Guest are not required to wear mask outdoors if they can maintain a 2-metre physical distance
    • Servers who interact with guests must wear masks.
Personal Service Settings
  • These include businesses providing hairdressing and barbering, tattooing, aesthetics and piercing and other body modifications
  • Follow Ontario’s guidance documents for health and safety during COVID-19.
  • Oxygen bars, bath houses, steam houses and saunas are not permitted at this time.
  • Patrons must wear face coverings, except when receiving services on an area of face that would be covered
  • Staff are required to wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To find PPE suppliers, click here.
  • Ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres between patrons.
  • Increase cleaning and sanitizing of your facility. To ensure proper infection prevention and control, follow this Public Health Ontario disinfection chart.
  • Consider operating by appointment only and stagger times.
  • It’s recommended you record names and contact information of patrons in case of an outbreak

« Go back