OPMC: How to trick-or-treat safely during COVID-19

For Clay Today
Posted 10/13/20

CLAY COUNTY – It’s the question every parent is asking. “What are we going to do about Halloween?”

Parents and communities want to know if it is safe to go trick-or-treating. We all know …

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OPMC: How to trick-or-treat safely during COVID-19

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – It’s the question every parent is asking. “What are we going to do about Halloween?”

Parents and communities want to know if it is safe to go trick-or-treating. We all know we have to celebrate differently this year but how can we still have some of the fun?

The good news is experts do not think that surface spread is the main mode of COVID-19 transmission. “I would say you’re OK to take the children outside for limited trick-or-treating, but recognize it’s going to be very different from last year and prepare the entire family with the new safety rules,” notes Dr. Jennifer Chapman, Emergency Room Physician.

“If you live in an area where there is still a high incidence of COVID-19 neither I nor the CDC recommends trick-or-treating door-to-door,” said Dr. Chapman.

“If you live in an area where there is still a moderate incidence of COVID-19 you need to weigh if trick-or-treating is worth it to you and your family based on your specific situation. The easiest way to determine the COVID-19 risk level in your community go to www.Halloween2020.org where the Harvard Global Health Institute has an interactive map that details COVID risk level by county. Even if you live in an area with a low prevalence of COVID-19 cases you still want to be sure and take a few extra precautions.

Some of the biggest risks for this Halloween are who you are trick-or-treating with. Close contact is defined as those within six feet of you for more than 10-15 minutes.

“My advice would be to skip the Halloween parties this year and stick to outdoor trick-or-treating as your main family event, with proper social distancing.”

It’s recommended to limit your group to just your family or three or four children at the most. Choose wisely, friends that you know have been practicing social distancing and limiting their own exposure as well.

Experts point out that trick-or-treat exchanges at houses need to be brief and socially distanced. And as an extra note of caution, put a lid on communal candy bowls. “This year it would be safer to not have little hands in big candy bowls and digging out the pieces they like the most. I would also encourage to use hand sanitizer throughout the route and wash hands often and especially children before eating,” adds Dr. Chapman.

And finally, if you are giving out candy at your house and want to do it safely, consider giving out pre-portioned goodies that can be placed in containers on the porch so children can grab and go. This limits the person-to-person interaction allows you to social distance, and children go home happy.

Visit the CDC website for more guidance on the risks of different Halloween activities, and ways to lower these risk.

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