(CBS SF) – Health officials in the Bay Area urged people to make alternate plans for celebrating Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos this year, amid concerns of spreading COVID-19 through events like trick-or-treating or parties.
"These holidays are no different from the rest of the year when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Stay home if you feel sick or have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19; wear a face covering whenever you leave home; and keep your distance from others (even relatives) who don't live in your household," the officials said in a joint statement.
Officials said trick-or-treating, while being held outdoors, is viewed as a high-risk activity because it brings people from different households together. Parties are also being discouraged, since contact tracing shows that gathering and mixing are "key contributors" to COVID-19 infection.
To reduce spread, health officials are urging "lower risk" activities such as events with one's household, visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch while wearing a mask and keeping distance, car-based parades or drive-in movies, along with virtual events.
Events deemed "medium risk" include what officials described as "one-way trick-or-treating" where goodie bags are prepared for families to grab and go. Officials stressed that candy should not be eaten while out and about because that would involve removing one's mask and touching wrappers.
Another activity in the medium risk category would be a very small group taking part in an outdoor open-air costume parade or movie night where people are distanced and wearing masks, saying fewer people with more distance is safer.
Along with large gatherings, other events not being permitted under state and local regulations include haunted houses or indoor mazes, or so-called "trunk-or-treat" events.
People who live where COVID-19 is spreading are also being urged not to travel to rural fall festivals because of the potential of bringing the virus into the area.
Officials also gave advice when it comes to costumes, urging people to consider a themed cloth mask for their outfit, saying a costume mask is not a substitute.
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