SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – Following last year's cancellations, health officials in Sonoma County gave the green light for trick-or-treating this Halloween and offered tips to remain safe from COVID-19.
Health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said families can "confidently enjoy" celebrations for Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos celebrations held outdoors. Mase said indoor activities where multiple households mix, including indoor mazes, parties and haunted houses, have higher risk as many children are not eligible to be vaccinated.
Officials also said masks continue to be required in indoor public settings and are recommended in private settings where there are people who are unvaccinated or who have compromised immune systems. Costume masks are not a substitute, and trick-or-treaters are being told not to wear one over a cloth mask, as it can make breathing difficult.
People welcoming trick-or-treaters at their door are urged to wear masks while distributing candy. Mase recommended handing out treats individually or placing them on a table instead of a communal candy bowl.
Other tips include staying home when sick and avoiding large groups.
"Together, we all need to do as much as we can to protect ourselves and those around us, including young children who are not yet eligible for vaccination," Mase said.
The health officer again recommended residents who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to receive their shots. According to the county's vaccination dashboard, 78% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.
"People who are vaccinated can gather safely with family and friends who have also been vaccinated, knowing they are all protected against severe illness, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19," Mase said.
Earlier this week, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, also gave his approval for trick-or-treating this Halloween, since it is primarily an outdoor activity.
"This is a time that children love. It's a very important part of the year for children," he said.
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