Like other events and holidays this year, Halloween will look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued guidance for those looking to do some trick-or-treating or other Halloween activities.
IDPH recommends wearing face coverings and maintaining six feet of social distancing for those heading out to trick-or-treat. They also ask community members to consider leaving candy out on tables outside their home.
“One of the hallmarks of holidays and celebrations is gathering with friends, family and loved ones,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are still in a pandemic, and unfortunately, this year, that means the safest way to celebrate is to stay home and plan virtual gatherings. That said,IDPH recognizes that some who will choose to gather together anyway, and instead of denying that reality, we are issuing guidance and recommendations for safer ways to celebrate together in person.”
IDPH reminds residents that a costume mask is not a suitable substitute for a cloth mask. If a standard mask cannot be worn safely under a costume mask, the costume mask should be discarded. They also recommend trick-or-treating in groups with household members only, and to wash your hands before eating candy.
“Remember, we know what our best tools are: wearing our masks, keeping our distance, limiting event sizes, washing your hands, and looking out for public health and each other,” said Dr. Ezike.
IDPH also had some alternatives to a traditional Halloween. “Set up in a large parking lot or other outdoor setting with tables with individually wrapped candy (spaced apart) where participants with a parent/guardian can parade past while still keeping 6-feet of distance and wearing a face covering. It’s suggested to offer reserved time slots to limit everyone showing up at once.”
Haunted houses are not allowed under the current Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidelines. But, an outdoor, open air “haunted” activity such as a walk or a haunted forest is allowed, as long as participants can stay 6-feet apart and wear masks.
IDPH reminds adults planning Halloween social gatherings at parties or bars that no more than 50 people are allowed, or less than 50% of a building’s maximum occupancy. And if you do go out – remember the longer you are at a gathering, the closer the contact and the more people that attend, the higher your chance is to be exposed to COVID-19.
Pumpkin Patch/Hayride Fun
Pumpkin patches are allowed, but masks should be warned while there, social distancing should be followed, and hands should be washed or sanitized before handling produce such as apples or pumpkins.
Masks should also be worn while on hayrides. The 50% capacity rule should be followed on hayrides as well, with riders able to sit at least six feet apart.
Take Precautions if You Have Concerns
If you have any concerns that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 after any Halloween activity, take extra precautions for 14 days afterward and consider being tested.
Naperville is expected to announce its recommendations for Halloween tomorrow.
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