CALIFORNIA, Md. – Local health departments are discouraging families from participating in traditional Trick-or-Treat activities this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
TheBayNet reached out to the St. Mary’s, Charles, and Calvert County Health Departments to find out if they planned to place any restrictions on Trick-or-Treat.
St. Mary’s and Calvert Health Departments responded.
While it doesn’t appear there will be any official prohibition of activities, both departments referred to current CDC guidelines which categorize both the door-to-door quest for candy and other activities like Trunk-or-Treats as ‘high-risk.’
Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer said, “It is still safer to avoid gatherings or large events as these situations continue to be a prime mechanism for the spread of COVID-19 in our county. Please especially consider avoiding indoor parties/gatherings. If participating in events or gatherings with persons outside your household, make sure to wear a mask and social distance. Consider alternative Halloween celebrations such as outdoor scavenger hunts, outdoor movie nights, and virtual Halloween costume contests, all of which can be done safely while social distancing.”
Dr. Brewster said if families do choose to go Trick-or-Treating they should follow these rules:
- a face covering or mask should be worn by all (not replaced by a costume mask or underneath of a costume mask where breathing may get restricted)
- hands should be sanitized often
- avoid congregating in large groups of people outside of your household
She also suggested families handing out treats use socially-distant methods of distribution. “For example, individually wrapped goodie bags lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard). When preparing goodie bags, individuals should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.”
Dr. Brewster cautioned that anyone who feels ill or has possibly been exposed to COVID-19 should not participate in Halloween activities or hand out candy.
Information on free community testing is available at: http://www.smchd.org/covid-19-testing/.