OLEAN — While locals look forward to Halloween trick-or-treating, health officials urge those on both ends of the tradition to stay safe.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo “has not canceled trick or trick activities, but local municipalities can decide on whether to allow these activities during the pandemic,” said Dr. Kevin Watkins, head of the Cattaraugus County Health Department.
“As we are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Cattaraugus County we are urging residents to be careful and practice social distancing, masking, and proper handwashing if they are going to participate in, door to door, trick or treating practices,” he added.
Those who are ill, believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are at an increased risk for severe illness should avoid in-person Halloween gatherings, Watkins said, and avoid handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. The state’s limit of 50 people per event still applies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that there are ways to minimize transmission of COVID-19 while still allowing for the fun of trick-or-treating:
Anyone distributing candy or treats should wash their hands properly for at least 20 seconds before distributing the candy and when replenishing.
All individuals participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy should maintain social distance of least 6 feet and wear proper face coverings. A costume mask, such as those often worn for Halloween, is not a substitute for a face covering.
If face coverings are worn under costume masks, ensure this does not create breathing problems, and if so, discard the costume mask.
Household members should trick-or-treat together, and they should maintain 6 feet of distance from other trick-or-treaters at all times. Mixed household trick-or-treaters are discouraged.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be carried and used as necessary.
Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be consumed until after handwashing. As always, a parent or guardian should check all candy to make sure it is wrapped and should discard unwrapped candy.
Remember to practice good dental hygiene as well.
Outdoor areas are preferred for trick-or-treating. Enclosed indoor areas, like apartment buildings, present greater risk of COVID-19 transmission. Open doors and windows as appropriate to promote increased ventilation.
For more information regarding trick-or-treat guidelines visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween