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Source: Northern Ireland – City of Derry

28 October 2020

With just a few days to go until October 31, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, took the opportunity today to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween, and issued an important message about the celebrations.

Traditionally Derry welcomes tens of thousands of visitors to the city for one of the biggest and brightest outdoor Halloween celebrations in Europe, with an internationally acclaimed programme of festivities. This year, the Council team have put all their energy into creating a vibrant and entertaining virtual programme of activities to bring Halloween right into people’s homes.

Responding to recent increases in cases of Covid-19 in the North West area, the Council has been working intensively with all its stakeholders to engage and enforce the public safety messaging in a bid to control the virus.  

With that in mind, the Mayor today called on all local people to please keep up the momentum and continue to follow the guidance to protect as many people as possible at this critical time. He stressed that making the effort now could make all the difference when looking ahead to Christmas.

“I know Halloween is a time of particular importance to the people of Derry. It’s a celebration that we have made our own over the years and even the name Halloween has become synonymous with the city. So that’s why we have a particular responsibility to ensure this celebration does not come to be remembered as a time where we ignored the guidance and saw an increase in this virus or put the vulnerable at risk.

“We need to led by example this year. We need to keep up the momentum which has seen a reduction in the cases in recent days in the hope that, if we can make a real difference now, we may look forward to a better Christmas, hopefully in the company of our closest loved ones and friends.

“I want everyone to enjoy Halloween and it’s important for our children to have something to look forward to – they have been making all of us proud during what has been a very difficult time for them as they miss friends and loved ones.

“But the message this year is simply this – please celebrate safely at home. Find other ways of having fun – make costumes, bake Halloween treats, enjoy more traditional games, cuddle up and watch some spooky films. Council has a full virtual programme of online events including story-telling, music sessions, films, Halloween how to sessions and masterclasses that will entertain and terrify in equal measure.

“We are asking you all to play your part this year. Don’t invite people to your homes – don’t attend house parties. Young people please don’t gather in the streets. Don’t indulge in excess alcohol and leave yourself vulnerable. Be considerate of others – on the advice of the Public Health Agency please avoid trick or treating which has the potential to spread the virus and goes against the restrictions around the mingling of households. It’s the best thing you can do to protect your grannies, grandas, aunties, uncles, friends and neighbours.

“It will be a challenge – but we have faced many challenges since March. It’s these short term actions that will hopefully result in a better long-term approach to managing this crisis and a return to some form of normality. Council will continue to work with all our partners, including Local Community Growth Partnerships, our politicians, CCI, the PSNI, the Public Health Agency and Health Trusts to promote this safety message and ensure we continue to keep up the positive efforts to control Covid-19.”

Local people are reminded ahead of the weekend that they must adhere to the full NI Executive restrictions around the mixing of households, social gatherings, unnecessary travel and social distancing.

Looking ahead to Halloween a spokesperson for the N. Ireland Executive Office reinforced the safety message saying: “Restrictions are in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 across the community. These measures include limiting interactions between households and restricting the number of people who can gather together.
“We want families to be able to enjoy the Halloween season and mid-term break. However, we urge everyone to do so in line with the regulations and public health advice to keep you, your family and the community as safe as possible.

MIL OSI United Kingdom