State, local officials urge Halloween precautions

State and local officials are urging that parents and children celebrating Halloween observe special precautions this year due to the coronavirus (Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins Medicine).

LOGAN – State and local officials say the “trick” to celebrating Halloween this year will be having fun without contracting the coronavirus.

After receiving numerous queries about local guidance for the Oct. 31 celebration, City Council Chair Amy Z. Anderson said Tuesday that she’s referring those callers to the state Department of Health’s website.

Although Halloween festivities aren’t cancelled, according to Anderson, trick or treaters need to observe reasonable safety precautions in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

The City of Logan has posted some guidance on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityoflogan and is responding to residents’ questions posted there. The most comprehensive safety guidance available, however, is that issued by the Centers for Disease Control.

That information is summarized by Utah health officials at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/safe-halloween-recommendation/.

First of all, health experts advise that Halloween masks do not protect against COVID-19 and should not be worn in place of cloth masks. They suggest making a cloth mask part of a costume or wearing a Halloween-themed face covering of some sort. A costume mask should never be worn over a cloth mask, they warn, because it has the potential to restrict breathing.

Ideally, the CDC guidance says, trick or treating done outdoors will be safer than an indoor gathering.

Whether indoors or outdoors, however, celebrants should stay at least six feet away from others who do not live in their homes.

Health experts advise that trick or treaters going door-to-door should remember to maintain social distancing, wait to approach a home if there is already another group at its door and don’t stay at any house longer than a few minutes.

Homeowners answering their doors on Halloween are advised to avoid direct contact with trick or treaters and to wear a cloth mask. Health officials add that dispensing treats outdoors is safer, particularly from an outdoor station with individually bagged treats.

As always, parents should inspect any treats brought into their homes before allowing children to eat or handle them. Any treats that are not individually wrapped or are homemade should be discarded. Experts also recommend that candy wrappers should be disinfected prior to allowing children to eat their contents.

State officials say that children or adults should avoid Halloween celebrating if they have tested positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to anyone who tested positive, are waiting for test results, have flu-like symptoms or reside with anyone at high-risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Anderson said that she is personally suggesting that trick or treating be limited to the hours between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Halloween.

She also suggests that trick or treaters only approach homes that are brightly lit that evening and that residents who might feel uncomfortable answering their doors for health reasons turn off their outdoor lights.

Additional tips for Halloween safety can be found at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/safe-halloween-recommendation/.

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