Canadians divided over whether to let pandemic disrupt Halloween and the holidays, poll finds

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OTTAWA – Canadians are divided over whether to let the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt their plans for upcoming vacations and seasonal events, a new poll suggests. The poll, conducted by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies, comes as COVID-19 cases rise and public health officials urge Canadians in places where the number of cases increases to avoid contact with anyone outside of their immediate family or at least stick to small social circles.

The results suggest that the message is only partially getting through.

Respondents with children who went door-to-door for Halloween last year were very divided over whether to let them do tricks or treats again this year, with 52% saying they won’t. not and 48% say they will.

However, the survey revealed strong regional variations. About two-thirds of respondents in Atlantic Canada, which has been relatively untouched by the COVID-19 resurgence, said they would let their children out. In the hardest-hit Ontario and Quebec, two-thirds have said they won’t.

Kids doing stuff or treats will find leaner picks, with 49% of respondents nationwide saying they won’t open their doors this year to hand out candy.

Again, Atlantic Canadians were more likely to say they would hand out treats; in Ontario and Quebec, cheaters seem poised for sparse pickings. In Ontario, 24 percent of respondents said they would hand out treats. In Quebec, only 13%

Respondents were also divided over the Thanksgiving celebration this coming weekend, with 40% of respondents saying the pandemic is forcing them to change their plans – and an equal percentage saying not. Another 20 percent said they generally don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anyway.

As for the Christmas holiday season, 49 percent said they would change their plans, 44 percent said they would not. Eight percent said they generally don’t celebrate the holiday.

Those who intended to change their plans were asked to describe how. They were allowed to give more than one answer.

Seventy-four percent said they would celebrate with close or immediate family members to minimize their social interactions, 54% said they would limit the celebrations to a smaller number of visitors, 40% plan to issue strict instructions against kissing, hugging or shaking hands, and 37 percent plan to avoid air travel.

Thirty percent said they will hold virtual celebrations and 25 percent said they will not attend church services or celebrations they would otherwise have attended. Nineteen percent said they plan to cancel the celebrations altogether.

The online survey of 1,523 adult Canadians was conducted October 2-4. It cannot be given a margin of error because Internet surveys are not considered random samples.

Almost three-quarters of respondents – 72% – said Canada has already entered wave two of the pandemic, up 10 points from last week.

There was less division over how governments should respond to the second wave of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Fifty-three percent said high-risk businesses and activities should be closed while others should remain open for the time being. Another 28 percent said as many businesses as possible should stay open while we see how Wave 2 progresses, while 14 percent are in favor of a near-total foreclosure similar to that imposed in the spring. latest.

85% of them said they would support the closure of bars, nightclubs and casinos, while 74% would support the closure of cinemas and all amateur sports, including school sports.

Sixty-seven percent would refuse to close places of worship, 61 percent interprovincial trips, 52 percent schools and universities, 52 percent visits to long-term care or personal care homes, 47 percent of parks and playgrounds, 46 percent of restaurants and offices, 44 percent of malls and 33 percent of retail stores.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 6, 2020.

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