Quebec is giving Halloween the green light to go ahead, with certain restrictions, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Premier François Legault announced the decision Thursday, saying trick-or-treating will be permitted in the province on Oct. 31. He said he knows how important the holiday is for children.
“Halloween happens outside,” he said. “We know that outside is less risky than indoors.”
However, there are rules in place. Groups are limited to people who live in the same household and parties are not permitted. Those giving out candy must maintain a two-metre distance from trick-or-treaters.
“It’s not ideal but children can dress up, they can go in the streets of Quebec,” he said.
The decision comes as Quebec reported 969 new cases and 28 additional deaths linked to the pandemic Thursday.
Health authorities say eight of those deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, while 20 were counted retroactively.
The COVID-19 caseload stands at 89,963, the highest in the country. The health crisis has killed 6,005 people to date.
Hospitalizations also went up again. There are five more patients, bringing the total to 493. Of those patients, 83 are in intensive care, an increase of three from the previous day.
Legault said that the number of new cases appears to have plateaued, which is good news, but that it hasn’t started to drop.
He also admitted the partial lockdown restrictions in place for designated red zones, such as Montreal and Quebec City, could be extended until at least Oct. 28.
In those regions, people are prohibited from having others over with few exceptions. Bars, museums, gyms, theatres and other establishments are also closed.
“We don’t know what will happen in the next two weeks but I wanted to be honest with Quebecers that some of the measures we put in place for 28 days could be longer.”
Isabelle Charest, the province’s minister responsible for sports, is also set to speak late Thursday afternoon. She is expected to announce a plan for the sports sectors which has been impacted by restrictions aimed at stopping the virus.
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