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COVID-19’s effect on Halloween and the time change: In The News for Friday, Oct. 30

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Oct 30th, 2020

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of XXX. X …

What we are watching in Canada …

As spooky season reaches its climax in a particularly frightening year, some historians argue the COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to explore a different side of Halloween.

The holiday has no fixed meaning and has been celebrated differently over the centuries, so there’s a deep well of traditions to draw from — including some that honour the dead, said Nick Rogers, a professor at York University who wrote the book on the history of Halloween.

The holiday is linked to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, which has some of Halloween’s celebratory spirit but is also a day to remember loved ones who have died.

“Halloween is about everything you want to avoid in a pandemic. It’s about scaring us. It’s about risk-taking. It’s about inversion,” he said. “…In a way, Day of the Dead is a much better holiday for addressing these things.”

Officials across the country have said that those who want to celebrate Halloween will need to make sacrifices — of varying degrees, depending on location — in order to keep their loved ones safe.

Those in some COVID-19 hot spots have been urged to forego trick-or-treating altogether, while others in regions with few cases are being told to keep their parties small.

For instance, in Quebec — Canada’s COVID-19 epicentre — children will be permitted to trick-or-treat with members of their own household, but adults can’t celebrate in groups.

British Columbia’s top doctor has also ruled out massive Halloween bashes, saying families need to keep gatherings to their immediate households and their “safe six,” though trick-or-treating is still a go.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have given trick-or-treating the green light as well, so long as people keep a physical distance from those not in their household.

Meanwhile, Ontario and New Brunswick are taking a regional approach to holiday regulations, barring trick-or-treating in hot spots.

“COVID sucks. What can I say, it’s terrible,” Premier Doug Ford said earlier this month, as he announced the rules. “We need to work together this Halloween to protect Christmas.”

Also this …

Much of Canada is set to turn back the clocks at 2 a.m.  Sunday, giving people an extra hour of sleep in exchange for darker evenings as winter sets in.

But experts say the end of daylight time may feel a little different this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our usual schedules.

Some professors predict the time-warping nature of the crisis could ease the autumnal adjustment, while a critic says the one-hour shift may compound the discombobulation of life under lockdown.

While the seasonal tradition continues to be a source of fervid contention, University of Toronto medical professor Donald Redelmeier says we have much bigger worries this year.

Redelmeier says the supposed negative side-effects of clock switching will be eclipsed, if not alleviated, by the global upheaval of the pandemic.

But Wendy Hall, a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia’s school of nursing, says the switch to standard time will only exacerbate sleep disruptions linked to the COVID-19 crisis.

Psychology professor Steve Joordens says the change in light patterns could provide a natural sense of structure by making people feel more energized in the morning and ready for bed at an earlier hour.

Yukon moved to permanent daylight time in March, and lawmakers in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario are considering measures to do away with the twice-yearly time change.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

When Joe Biden was last in Iowa, his campaign was on the verge of collapse and he was soundly trounced in the caucuses.

He returns today as the Democratic nominee, believing he’s just days away from becoming president-elect.

Iowa is among the clutch of GOP-leaning states that Biden is trying to bring back into the Democratic column.

He’ll also swing through Wisconsin today while his running mate, Kamala Harris, courts voters in Texas.

Trump, meanwhile, is playing defence in Michigan and Wisconsin. The president and Biden will both be in Minnesota, a longtime Democratic state that Trump is trying to flip.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

HANOI — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has wrapped up a five-nation anti-China tour of Asia in Vietnam as the fierce American presidential election race enters its final stretch.

With just four days left in the campaign in which China has been a central theme, Pompeo visited Hanoi today ostensibly to celebrate 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam relations.

But as he has at his previous stops in India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia, Pompeo’s main aim was to shore up support for pushing back on China.

The Trump administration has made confronting China, its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, human rights record and aggressiveness towards its smaller neighbours one of its main foreign policy priorities.

On this day in 2001 …

After 63 years of selling music to Canadians, the Sam the Record Man retail chain declared bankruptcy. But Sam Sniderman’s sons Jason and Bob bought the company’s assets from a bankruptcy trustee and re-opened the Toronto flagship store in 2002, but it closed in June 2007.

In sports …

TORONTO — Ontario’s minister of sport is expected to have updates today on bids to host FIFA World Cup games and the Commonwealth Games in the province.

Lisa MacLeod will be speaking at the Empire Club of Canada in downtown Toronto this afternoon.

She said earlier this month that the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries would be making announcements about those international sporting events by the end of October.

Canada is co-hosting the 2026 World Cup along with Mexico and the United States but the venues for the men’s soccer tournament have yet to be named.

A committee has also been formed to put together a bid for Hamilton to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

The quadrennial Commonwealth Games features 6,500 elite athletes and coaches from 71 countries competing in summer sport.

ICYMI …

VANCOUVER — The maker of Canada Dry ginger ale has agreed to pay more than $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits.

A B.C. Supreme Court decision on costs released Monday shows Victor Cardoso claimed he bought Canada Dry on the basis it was “made from real ginger,” but the marketing was false and it contained none.

The decision says Cardoso later conceded that the soda contains small amounts of ginger derivatives, but he continued to allege that the company’s representations of its product were false.

The soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability.

Under the settlement agreement, the company is not required to change its labelling or advertising for products marketed in Canada.

The class-action followed similar lawsuits in the United States, which saw the company drop the “made from real ginger” line from its products sold there.

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