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CDC: Trick-Or-Treating, Costume Parties Considered High-Risk This Halloween

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a reminder Tuesday that if you have not been tested for COVID-19 in a while, it's time to go back.

As CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported, the changing season is also factoring into mounting concerns. This after an already long and tiresome fight.

The citywide infection rate is about 1% now and even lower statewide, but there are new concerns as numbers in south Brooklyn have triggered a warning about a cluster.

"Here are some areas we're concerned about -- Kew Gardens, Midwood, Flatbush, Far Rockaway, and Williamsburg," the mayor said.

The infection rate in Williamsburg is 2%, Kew Gardens is 2.24% and Edgemere-Far Rockaway is 3.69%.

A section of south Brooklyn known as the Ocean Parkway cluster -- including Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst -- is now at a 4.71% rate.

The four areas listed make up 20% of all cases citywide.

"That's kinda crazy because I thought it was going down," one Brooklyn resident told CBS2's Dick Brennan.

"We're just gonna be super careful. That's all that we can do," another Brooklyn resident said.

It was a new warning indicating the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

"We are now seeing signals that COVID is spreading in some neighborhoods, faster and wider than the rest of the city," city Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said.


The city is allocating more testing and education in hot spots. It comes as concerns mount that cooler weather and upcoming holidays will have more people gathering indoors.

"I'm thinking about putting like a little gathering together. You know, bring our family and friends together, just take away the stress," Crown Heights resident Patrice Minick said.

Watch Aundrea Cline-Thomas' report --

Some are hoping Halloween provides a temporary escape, but recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines classified traditional trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treats in parking lots, and attending crowded costume parties and indoor haunted houses as "higher-risk" activities.

More CDC guidance:

  • Higher-risk activities
    • Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating
    • Trunk-or-treating with cars lined up in parking lots
    • Crowded indoor costume parties
    • Crowded indoor haunted houses
    • Hay or tractor rides with non-household members
    • Using alcohol or drugs, which may cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors
    • Traveling to a rural fall festival if you live somewhere with community spread
  • Moderate-risk activities
    • One-way trick-or-treating with individually wrapped grab-and-go bags
    • Small, outdoor costume parades or parties with masks and social distancing
    • One-way haunted forests with masks and social distancing
    • Pumpkin patches or orchards that use hand sanitizer with masks and social distancing
    • Having a Halloween-themed movie night outdoors and socially distanced with local family friends
  • Lower-risk activities
    • Carving or decorating pumpkins with household members
    • Carving or decorating pumpkins while socially distanced outside with neighbors or friends
    • Decorating your house, apartment or living space
    • Halloween-themed scavenger hunts in or around your home with household members
    • Halloween-themed scavenger hunts outdoors and admiring decorations at a distance
    • Halloween-themed movie nights with household members
    • Halloween-themed virtual costume contests

"The CDC just said shut it down, but I think family members, just a few, can have a little gathering at home," Crown Heights resident Rosalind Spaulding said.

"We need to stay safe, you know, but don't take too much fun out of it. The door to door, touching people, we can stay away from that," Flatbush resident Vanessa Rivera said.

The CDC recommends instead carving or decorating pumpkins with your family inside, or with others at a safe distance outside, decorating your living space and socially distant scavenger hunts.

But a haunted house in Baltic, Conn. says it can do it safely.

"You're going to go through the haunted house with your group and we space each group out so you don't crash into each other," a worker said.

In fact, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Halloween is not canceled, but health departments throughout the Tri-State Area are still determining guidance.

Click here for more CDC guidance on Halloween, Dia de los Muertos and Thanksgiving.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week he would not ban door-to-door trick-or-treating, but New York City's annual Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village has been canceled.

The CDC says costume masks are not a substitute for cloth masks, and recommends more social distancing in settings where there will be screaming.

For those preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.

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