Will Halloween and birthday parties be cancelled in Scotland?


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Nicola Sturgeon has not ruled out a ban on guising in Scotland this Halloween.

The first minister said she did not want to stop children trick-or-treating but that she would do what was necessary to keep them safe from rising coronavirus infections.

New rules allow no more than six people from two households from gather indoors or outside.

Children under 12 do not count in the total, but do in the number of households.

At her daily briefing, Nicola Sturgeon was asked if new restrictions would affect Halloween celebrations next month.

‘At risk’

She said: “I don’t know. I wish I had a crystal ball sitting next to my magic wand and we would be in a different position.

“I don’t want to be the person standing here telling children they can’t go guising, but if it is necessary because of where we are then it’s better than allowing children to be at risk.

“I will try to take these decisions with my colleagues with the overall interest in keeping the country as safe as we possibly can.”

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Halloween parties and guising could be problematic when it comes to current restrictions on gatherings

National Clinical Director Prof Jason Leitch said he had had early discussions with the government website Parentclub about what a safe Halloween might look like.

He said: “We don’t know where we will be, what the prevalence will be and whether we have any further restrictions. But we are going to have to think about Halloween as every other country will.

“The reason we have limited the household numbers is that we believe once the virus gets into your house it is difficult to avoid it infecting the people inside. The main aim is to stop it getting in your house.”

The blow came as the first minister promised clarification on children’s parties by the end of this week.

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She said she had asked advisors to look at the possibility of further exemptions for under 12s to allow occasional celebrations to take place, as long as the number of adults was limited to six.

She also acknowledged that there were unintentional consequences in the limiting of households, one being that some families would not be in a position to access more expensive organised activities which are currently allowed to go ahead.

She said that none of the decisions she made were perfect and that the aim was to limit household interaction.

Children’s parties – what can you do?

As it stands with the new six people, two household rule, options for children’s celebrations are limited. Even with no limits on the number of children under 12, the two household rule sticks.

If the activity is set up and run by a company or organisation which is operating under a governing body or an official sector regulator, then they can offer sessions for groups of children.

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An organised sporting activity can still go ahead

This would include, for example, five-a-side football, ski slope tubing sessions, a horse riding lesson.

The session would be run with social distancing measures observed, sanitising and handwashing and appropriate protective equipment.

The bad news comes if you want a birthday tea to go along with it. The six people, two household rule applies to hospitality so party rooms, food and games are off the menu.



BBC News