Council urges residents to keep themselves and others safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night

This year, Swindon Borough Council is asking residents to act responsibly and consider how they celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night, to prevent the further spread of coronavirus in the community.

Published: Tuesday, 27th October 2020

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Many of the traditional ways of celebrating Halloween and Bonfire Night do not meet national coronavirus guidelines and so activities such as trick or treating, large public firework displays and apple bobbing should therefore not take place.

Where possible, residents are advised to carry out their celebrations at home to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. However if residents do need to leave home, they must ensure they are meeting in groups of no more than six and ensure guidance is followed.

Within the Government’s three-tiered system of local COVID-19 Alert Levels, Swindon remains in Tier 1 (medium) with a case rate of 103.1 cases per 100,000 residents (as of 26 Oct). Residents should therefore ensure guidance for areas within the Tier 1 alert level is followed.

Anyone not certain on what they can and cannot do should check the Government guidance at Key guidance to follow includes:

  • Rule of six – do not meet in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors for any activities
  • Avoid sharing – do not pass items such as sweets or sparklers between anyone outside your household as this could easily spread the virus
  • Face masks – wear a face mask where required. A Halloween mask should not replace a face mask as this will not offer the same level of protection
  • Space – stay two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre with extra precautions (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
  • Hand washing – make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after leaving the house

While this will be disappointing for many, there are other ways to recognise Halloween and Bonfire Night this year and residents are being asked to consider new ways of celebrating.

Alternative ideas include indoor pumpkin carving, scary film nights, virtual costume contests or scavenger hunts in the back garden. The Council will be sharing ideas through its Facebook page in the lead up to Halloween.

As with every year, the Council is also reminding residents to be mindful of the impact fireworks can have on pets and other animals. Loud, sudden noises can be distressing for animals so residents are asked to be considerate with their celebrations, especially with more residents celebrating from home.

To answer any questions residents may have at this time, Steve Maddern, the Council’s Director of Public Health, will be hosting a live Q&A session on Facebook on Thursday (29 Oct).

Social media users can submit their questions beforehand or tune in to the Council’s corporate Facebook page at 5pm to watch the session live and leave questions for Steve in the comments section.

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “As with many events this year, it is disappointing that we are unable to celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night in the ways we are used to.

“However, it is important to remember that these restrictions are in place to protect us and our loved ones as much as possible. Traditional celebrations, such as trick or treating or public firework displays, risk the virus spreading further in our community, so it’s crucial we stick to the guidance and celebrate safely.

“While residents are encouraged to mark these events at home where possible, this does not mean people can’t enjoy celebrations and there are plenty of ways to think outside the box and have fun safely this year.”

More information on the guidance for areas within the Tier 1 alert level can be found here:

The Q&A with Steve Maddern will begin at 5pm on Thursday (29 Oct). It can be viewed live on the Council’s corporate Facebook page here:

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