East London police and councils are asking people not to go trick or treating this Halloween.
Advice from Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Havering councils encourages people to find other ways to celebrate the holiday to limit the spread of coronavirus.
According to Waltham Forest Council’s website https://thehub-beta.walthamforest.gov.uk/blog/covid-19-safe-halloween-top-tips] those that do choose to trick or treat are asked to avoid knocking on strangers’ doors as they may be highly vulnerable and shielding.
It is also not recommended to offer sweets, even by leaving a bucket of them in the garden, as this risks transferring the virus.
Chief Inspector Kevin Weeden, the top police officer for Havering and Redbridge, said he wanted to “urge residents to abide by… the rule of six” and “maintain safe social distancing”.
He added: “I understand these are very challenging and unprecedented times, but together we can reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if we comply with the current regulations.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our residents for their support and compliance during this time.”
Havering director of public health Dr Mark Ansell said residents had been doing “an excellent job” following lockdown but “cannot let that slip, not even for a day”.
He said: “Trick or treating is a high risk activity that can cause the virus to spread further – if several people are putting their hands into buckets or bowls of sweets, there is a risk of transmitting the virus.
“It’s also important to appreciate that many people in their homes are trying to reduce social contact, and will not want visitors.”
Police are offering posters, which people can put up to show they are not comfortable receiving trick or treaters.
Residents are encouraged to celebrate indoors, for example by organising a scavenger hunt in the home or having a costume competition via Zoom.
Anyone that does go outside should keep to the rule of six, wear a face mask, regularly sanitise their hands and remain a safe distance from those not in their household or bubble.