The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) yesterday issued guidelines promoting safer alternatives to conventional Halloween and Día de los Muertos celebrations, while strongly discouraging trick-or-treating.
According to the CDPH, celebrations typically associated with these holidays increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading, as more people from different households are in close proximity for long interactions. The guidance states, “Trick-or-treating without necessary modifications promotes congregating and mixing of many households, particularly on crowded doorsteps, which can increase the spread of COVID-19. That type of mixing is not currently permitted in California.”
CDPH recommends the following safer alternatives for Halloween and Día de los Muertos:
- Attending car-based outings where people do not leave their car, including drive-in events, contests or movies; driving through an area with holiday displays
- Creating a haunted house or candy scavenger hunt in your home
- Having a scary movie night and Halloween-themed activities such as pumpkin carving and face painting at home.
Día de los Muertos
- Altars — Consider placing and creating an altar in a window or outside so others can view from a safe, social distance.
- Cemetery Visits — If planning a visit the cemetery, only visit with those in one’s household, wear masks and maintain appropriate physical distancing. Limit time spent to minimum necessary.
- Virtual Altar — Create a virtual space to honor lost loved ones. Share with friends and family via email or social media.
Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said the state’s guidance is appreciated and aligns well with local planning efforts to date. “Holidays are a time of celebration, and we hope that Humboldt residents will be creative in finding safe alternatives to longstanding traditions to keep everyone safer this fall and winter,” she said.
CDPH urges Californians to remember the following:
- Wear a facial covering. Halloween costume masks are not an acceptable substitute for cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Practice Physical Distancing. Avoid confined spaces, especially indoors. Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet, especially while talking, eating, drinking and singing.
- Practice Good Hygiene. Wash or sanitize hands often. Clean frequently touched items regularly.
- Minimize Mixing. Plan activities to limit mixing between different households. Currently, gatherings of more than three households are prohibited in California.
- Stay at Home if You are Sick or in a High-Risk Group. People who are sick or in a high-risk group should not participate in in-person activities. Stay home and monitor any symptoms.
Read the guidance in English at covid19.ca.gov/holidays/ and in Spanish at covid19.ca.gov/es/holidays/.
For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting email@example.com or calling 707-441-5000.
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