Trick or treating 'sadly' forbidden this Halloween in Tier 3 areas, minister tells LBC

27 October 2020, 08:32 | Updated: 27 October 2020, 08:44

By Megan White

Trick or treating cannot go ahead in Tier 3 lockdown areas under the latest coronavirus restrictions, Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi has told LBC.

Nadhim Zahawi told LBC's Nick Ferrari that although children in Tier 1 and 2 areas will be able to take part in the Halloween tradition, their Tier 3 counterparts will not.

He explained that household mixing rules meant while people living under lower levels of covid restrictions can go out and knock on doors in groups of fewer than six, in Tier 3, any mixing in private outdoor spaces is forbidden - this would include front gardens where trick or treating takes place.

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A spokesman for the Prime Minister said on Tuesday that people should use "common sense" in ensuring they're following the rules where they live and abiding by social distancing guidelines.

Discussing the rules around trick or treating taking place this weekend, Mr Zawahi said: "If you are in Tier 1 and Tier 2 - Tier 1 you can trick or treat, just remind everybody that the rule of six still applies, so if you go and knock on someone's door, you can't go in if there are more than six people.

"If you're in Tier 2 then you can't socialise inside somebody's home, so you'd have to probably stand outside that home and that is the way you can enjoy trick or treating.

"Sadly, in Tier 3, you can't, because it is the areas where we have the highest level of infections."

Asked whether that meant Halloween was banned in Tier 3, the minister said: "It's a tough thing but the highest level of infections - Warrington is at 361 infections per 100,000, that is very high, we need to bring it down.

"We will work together, when we get through this, as you beautifully opened this interview, we will get through this, we've seen much worse in this country, we'll come out the other end and we'll come out more resilient, a more dynamic economy, and we'll deliver on the levelling up agenda that Boris wants us to deliver on."

On Tuesday, a Downing Street spokesperson said trick or treating can take place as long as the respective tier-related social distancing rules in each area are adhered to.

Asked about the prospect of trick or treating being banned this year, the Prime Minister's official spokesman: "The rules are those which apply to household mixing in general and what that means in practice is if you in a Very High alert level then you cannot mix with other households indoors or in private outdoor spaces.

"If you're in a High Covid alert level then the rule of six applies in private gardens and outdoor spaces but households must not mix indoors.

"And in terms of the Medium alert level, you can meet indoors and outdoors in groups of no more than six people.

"The rules are there for all circumstances and people will have to use their commons sense in ensuring they are following the rules."

People in Scotland have been told to stay home on Halloween, with the deputy first minister warning parents the celebrations bring an "additional and avoidable risk of spreading the virus".

Mr Zahawi said Tier 3 areas were subject to 28-day reviews and that bringing the virus under control was the route out of restrictions.

His comments follow concerns raised by northern Tory MPs about the coronavirus exit strategy.

He told LBC: "There is some good news. I have to be very cautious about this... but what I would say if you look at the the data, where we are working really well together, the rate of increase has slowed down.

"It's still too high, and we've got to continue to protect our hospitals, make sure that we save lives, protect the NHS and of course protect livelihoods and businesses, which is why this is a balancing act."

He added: "It's a choice between two harms - the harm of the virus and the harm to the economy and to livelihoods, which ultimately also leads to health harms as well."