Halloween traditions will be very different this year, and trick or treating is set to be banned in local lockdown areas, including Greater Manchester.
Boris Johnson’s deputy spokesperson has said the ‘rules are clear’ in terms of households mixing in different areas, and in places where local rules are not in place, children will be included in the ‘rule of six’ for maximum group size.
However, there is some confusion as to whether this includes the people answering the door.
Meeting in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors is currently against the law and can land you with a hefty £200 fine if caught breaking the rules. This will double each additional breach up to a maximum of £6,400.
Asked about Halloween, the Prime Minister’s deputy spokesperson said: “The Rule of Six is clear, it includes children. We are asking people not to meet in groups of six or more.
“In local lockdown areas, we have been very clear that households should not mix. In other areas not in lockdown the Rule of Six applies.
“It is correct, parents will be fined if children meet in groups of more than six children.”
The Department for Health and Social Care has now confirmed that trick or treating in areas where household mixing is not allowed, like Greater Manchester, will be banned.
In parts of England not in local lockdown, one parent could potentially take up to four kids out, as long as no more than one person answers the door to bring the total number of people over six.
The BBC spoke to Dr Chris Smith, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, who said: “If you’re doing something that increases your contact with other people then you are automatically increasing their risk and your risk.”
He added: “Because it’s Halloween I’d say people are quite likely to be wearing a mask anyway so if they can make a face-covering work it’s way into their costume then even better.”
To reduce the risk of spread on the sweets he recommends individually wrapped sweets and to leave them outside, or even leaving individual bags of sweets tied to fences or trees.
The BBC recommends five alternatives to trick or treating:
- Organise a Halloween treasure hunt within your own household
- Host a virtual party with themed games and music
- Watch a scary movie with the family
- Decorate your own house and organise a spooky trail, avoiding face-to-face contact
- Try reverse trick or treating by dropping off pre-packed sweets on neighbours’ doorsteps
A group of families in Marble have created an online map of houses that will be decorated, making a Halloween trail for families.
Organiser Aurelie said: “I think this year people are even more keen to get involved because of the circumstances, I feel like this winter could be very grim if we don’t do something to break it up.
“Something like this really lifts the spirits.”
Mum-of-two raffles off stunning £600k five-bedroom house and Ferrari for just £2
Wait until you see inside the stunning house
After spending nearly a year locked down in our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all thought about moving house at some point, just for a change of scenery.
Well, if you are thinking about moving somewhere a bit bigger, then we’ve got just the thing for you – a stunning £590,000 bespoke five-bedroom house.
And in even better news, you could grab this beautiful house for just £2, as owners Jennifer and David Matthews are raffling off the property, and are throwing in their Ferrari as well.
The couple built Bramble Lodge – which is located between Bolton and Chorley, near to Adlington – from scratch eight years ago, but now want to sell up and move on.
They came to the difficult decision of selling their ‘dream home’ as they need a more manageable property to clean and run, because of Jennifer’s health condition.
Known as Ventricular tachycardia, it’s an incurable heart condition that causes a fast, abnormal heart rate, and means the mum-of-two could die at any moment.
However, the coronavirus crisis has made it very difficult to sell the property, which is why they decided to try their luck on popular raffle site Raffall.
This is good news for anyone dreaming of moving into a huge, new family home, as the keys to the five-bedroom detached house – which is worth over half a million and is located in a sought-after postcode – could be yours for as little as £2.
Bramble Lodge is set in its own grounds, hidden away behind a dry stone wall with electric gates for maximum privacy and security, and surrounded by stunning gardens, complete with trees and even a swing.
There’s lots of parking space, with the large drive able to accommodate four cars, which will include the 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider that you claim alongside the house if you win.
Once inside, there are three beautiful reception rooms and a huge kitchen area with a breakfast bar and an even an Aga.
Head up the elegant spiral staircase to five double sized bedrooms, including one with an en-suite and slipper bath. The second bedroom has a stunning feature window with the staircase to the kitchen area.
The area – once home to Ryan Giggs – boasts outstanding primary schools, a nearby train station with trains to Manchester, has good motorway links, and is also close to the award-winning The Cherry Tree at Blackrod.
The Matthews need to sell all the tickets on Raffall by February 14th, or the raffle will end before that if the last ticket sells before that date.
The lucky winner will be chosen at random, so make sure you grab your ticket or tickets ASAP, as they’re sure to sell quickly.
You can find out more and grab a ticket on the Raffall site here – good luck!
Car swallowed by sinkhole in Manchester after the city is battered by rain and snow
‘Cars getting swallowed now’
A car was partially swallowed up by a sinkhole on a Manchester street last night, after the city was battered with torrential rain and snow.
The weather was relentless yesterday, with heavy rain leading to rivers around our region reaching dangerous levels, followed by snow in the evening.
To top it off, a large crater appeared on a residential street in Gorton yesterday evening, with a car falling into it.
The sinkhole was spotted on Walmer Street in Abbey Hey, with the road surface looking like it ‘buckled’ leaving a roughly four square metre hole.
People took to social media to share photos of the car, which has now been removed.
The street was then partly cordoned off by emergency services, who remained at the scene last night, with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and GMP attending.
Surveyors were also on hand to assess the area for structural damage to surrounding houses, although no further details have been released yet about the cause of the sinkhole.
Around 3,000 properties at risk of flooding tonight in Greater Manchester as heavy rain continues
Stay safe out there everyone
As Storm Christoph continues to batter Greater Manchester, some areas of south Manchester and Trafford are at risk of flooding tonight.
Around 3,000 properties will be at risk this evening, according to the police, as authorities continue to monitor the rainfall and its impact on our rivers – with several warnings already issued.
Speaking at Andy Burnham’s press conference earlier this afternoon, Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey detailed the latest information.
According to him, the areas most at risk across Greater Manchester will be those near the River Mersey, specifically Didsbury, Northenden, Sale, and potentially parts of Stretford and Flixton.
ACC Bailey said: “As we speak, residents across those areas are being contacted by the Environment Agency and local authorities to advise them.
“Alerts have already been put out, people there are being advised to consider evacuation procedures should that happen.
“We are going to start to see the overflow contingency provisions at around 5pm. That will reach a peak at around 11pm this evening where we will see flooding of those areas.
“In its worst-case scenario, estimated by the Environment Agency, that could impact on up to 3,000 properties across all the areas.
“This is a significant incident in terms of disruption to population.”
ACC Nick Bailey went on to say that those 3,000 properties might not need to evacuate, adding that authorities will be working ‘right up to the last minute’ to try and prevent that from happening.
In the meantime, Manchester and Trafford councils have been setting up rest centres for anyone who does need to evacuate, and police have confirmed that Covid restrictions do not apply in an evacuation situation – you should leave your home if necessary.
ACC Bailey added: “Those people have been advised with regards of advice to take where they do feel the need to take action to prevent them being harmed.
“We need to make sure they do take that action, they do make sure they’re safe. The legislation around covid will not be applied there are exemptions.
“If you need to take action, join other bubbles go other properties, please do that if that’s necessary to do that to protect you and your family.”
If you’re worried about the situation you can contact your local authority, however if it’s an emergency dial 999.
Stay safe out there everyone!