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Trick or treating 'banned' in tier three lockdown areas

Children living in ‘very high risk’ areas won’t be allowed to trick or treat for Halloween this year because it breaks lockdown rules, according to a Government minister.

Those in tiers one and two will be able to take part in the seasonal tradition but only if they use ‘common sense’, the Government has said. 

Yesterday Downing Street said trick or treating could go ahead as long as local restrictions are followed. 

But now a Government minister has clarified he doesn’t think it’s possible to do it safely in areas with the highest risk. 

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Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi told LBC because Tier Three restricts meetings in outdoor private spaces, including front gardens, trick or treating is off limits this year. 

He said: ‘If you are in Tier One and Tier Two – tier one 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 Two 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 Three, you can’t, because it is the areas where we have the highest level of infections.’

With coronavirus disrupting every aspect of normal life, there had been fears Halloween would be cancelled entirely this year. 

Many clubs and bars that would usually hold fancy dress nights have been shut and large indoor gatherings are banned throughout the UK, meaning house parties can’t happen either.  

The pandemic has also put a stop to Fireworks Night, with large-scale events cancelled and people being discouraged from hosting their own private displays. 

It comes as parts of Nottinghamshire and Warrington have been confirmed as the next places going into Tier Three this week. 

They join Greater Manchester, Lancashire, the Liverpool City Region and South Yorkshire in the toughest level of restrictions. 

Asked whether Halloween was effectively being cancelled for Tier Three residents, Mr Zahawi told LBC: ‘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.’

Yesterday the the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said trick or treating was allowed, but only if people follow the local rules and ‘use common sense’.

He said: ‘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 common sense in ensuring they are following the rules.’

This still led to confusion for those living in Tier Three. The rules imply that people can still trick or treat as long as they do not enter a private garden to do so. 

Mixing outdoors is allowed in wide open spaces so it’s not clear whether homes which open up straight onto a street can be called at. 

It’s also unclear if residents can leave sweets on a wall or garden fence to be taken, without face-to-face contact. 

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