Trudeau family to skip trick-or-treating, citing need to follow local health advice
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his family will follow the advice of local public health authorities to skip out on Halloween trick-or-treating this year, amid mounting frustration over conflicting guidance.
This comes after Ontario health experts recommended the COVID-19 hotspot regions of Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York should remain at home and find new ways to celebrate the tradition.
"I think it’s really important that Canadians across the country listen to their local health authorities. We know that it’s not easy, and it’s frustrating, and we’re trying to get through this pandemic as best we possibly can and to do that we have to reduce community transmission," said Trudeau during a press briefing in Ottawa.
"Unfortunately, all of us are having to make sacrifices of different types, particularly kids."
Public health officials have offered differing advice on whether to celebrate Halloween this year. Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his team of health experts have argued it’s not a safe practice, while federal officials including Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam have argued the opposite.
In an interview on CTV News Channel on Tuesday, CTV News Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy said trick-or-treating is "extremely low risk."
"Let’s remember that this is one of the few occasions that can almost exclusively be experienced in an outdoor setting. We know from the science of transmission of this virus that the risk is incurred by being indoors in poorly ventilated areas, areas in close contact with others for prolonged period of times. I struggle to think how this is something we need to worry about," he said.
Dr. Sharkawy added that, despite disapproving of the guidance, Canadians should "respect" public health’s intentions.
Responding to the frustration and confusion among those in COVID-19 hotspot zones, Ford on Tuesday said he has the support of local health authorities and the advice couldn’t be more clear.
"Yes, you can find a few doctors that will disagree all the time," he said. "You know if I had followed some of the advice that I heard from those same people at the beginning it would be a real disaster."
In terms of enforcement of these rules, Ford said it comes down to public trust.
"The vast majority of people are listening and going by the guidelines and protocols that are set out. If you want to load a whole bunch of kids in the car and drive 30 miles or whatever, we don’t have enough police. We can’t be checking every single car."
Ontario recorded 821 cases Tuesday, with Toronto reporting the highest count at 327, followed by Peel Region with 136 and Ottawa with 79.