Guidance on Halloween Trick or Treating during COVID-19
Trick-or-treating in Gloucester is suggested to take place between the hours of 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 31st (Halloween Day), according to Gloucester Sheriff Darrell Warren. It is important to note that it is not illegal to trick-or-treat, even outside of the designated timeframe, and that the recommended hours are of a suggestive nature only for the safety and well-being of all involved. According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), events that involve large gatherings of individuals such as large Halloween parties, haunted houses, etc. can increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and are not recommended this year. Given this guidance from VDH, the trick-or-treat event typically held each year along Main Street has been cancelled by the Gloucester Main Street Association.
According to VDH, the more closely people interact with each other and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. To protect themselves, people should avoid close contact with others who do not live in their household, wear a cloth face covering, practice social distancing and wash their hands properly and frequently.
VDH suggests that participation in trick-or-treating activities with effective distancing strategies (such as treat-givers providing individually wrapped goodie bags lined up for families to grab and go while maintaining social distance) as a “moderate risk” of transmission. Traditional trick-or-treating to many houses or visiting multiple neighborhoods where participants go door to door is designated as “high risk” for viral transmission by VDH.
More information can be found at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/182/2020/09/VDH-Interim-Guidancefor-Halloween-Events-2.pdf The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidance on Halloween Safety including recommendations regarding several lower-risk Halloween activities such as pumpkin carving at home, decorating your home or living space, watching an outdoor Halloween-themed movie while socially distanced, attending pumpkin patches or orchards where social distancing, masking and sanitization protocols are being followed, among other recommendations. Wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask is not recommended because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
More guidance and recommendations can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.
Brent Fedors, Gloucester’s County Administrator, encourages those who are inclined to participate in Halloween activities to do so with caution, and in alignment with VDH and CDC recommendations, and further suggests that trick-or-treaters should only approach homes that have their front doorstep light on. Households that wish not to entertain trick-or-treaters are encouraged to leave their outdoor lights off during the peak trick-or-treating hours on October 31st. Individuals who have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to the virus should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-ortreaters. For more information, contact Gloucester’s Community Engagement and Public Information office at 804-693-5730 or email@example.com