With the COVID-19 pandemic remaining a public health threat,
Contra Costa County health officials are advising against the usual Halloween traditions
— trick-or-treating, haunted houses, big parties — to minimize the risk of
spreading the virus.

“COVID-19 can easily pass from person to person through
close contact, and it’s difficult to maintain a safe distance on porches and doorsteps,
especially in neighborhoods where trick-or-treating is popular,” according
to a statement Wednesday from Contra Costa Health Services.

Health officials also warn that social distancing and mask wearing at Halloween parties, especially those that include alcohol, tends to break down as the events progress.

Instead, county health officials encourage emphasizing the
aspects of Halloween that can be enjoyed at a safe distance. Recommendations
include remote costume parties using Zoom or Skype, and decorating front yards
for public viewing. Entire neighborhoods could create such displays as a draw
for drive-through parades, Wednesday’s statement suggests.

Also encouraged are contactless “COVID-safe”
visits among neighbors and families looking for the familiar sights and feel of
the holiday, while also maintaining proper social distance and wearing masks. Contra
Costa Health Services also encourages county residents to check with their
local community recreation departments about organized, safe Halloween activities.

County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano on Tuesday had
told the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors he is recommending families
forego trick-or-treating this year, as the candy given out is typically touched
by at least a few people, and that even doorbells touched by multiple people could
result in greater spread of the coronavirus.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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