LA County advises against trick-or-treating, other social Halloween festivities

Photo by Haley Phelps on Unsplash

AS the beloved holiday that embraces the horrific unusual, it’s fitting that Halloween will be celebrated against the norm this year.

The Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health on Wed., Sept. 9 warned the public once again that massive holiday gatherings could bring about another surge in positive cases of the COVID-19 virus, the real horror of 2020.

After previously announcing a full ban on Halloween festivities, LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer walked back the initial announcement on Wednesday, saying that Halloween celebrations are allowed but should be approached with caution.

“Our guidelines have been slightly revised, so we’d ask that people go back and look at them to distinguish between those activities that are not permitted by the health officer order — that includes events, gatherings [and] parties,” Ferrer said. “Those are just not allowed. The only activities you can have [are] a party or gathering for those people that are in your household.”

The previous day, the Dept. of Public Health posted on its website guidelines that stated that door-to-door trick-or-treating is “not permitted.” On Wednesday, the department revised the guideline to say that trick-or-treating is “not recommended.”

“Trick-or-treating, we’re highly recommending that it not happen. We don’t think it’s an appropriate activity during a pandemic,” Ferrer said, adding that “there’s no guarantee [that] when you go trick-or-treating that your child goes up to a house where the person who opens the door is wearing a face covering. And when you don’t know the people opening the door, there’s no guarantee they’re not sick and that the candy they’re passing out — and that they’ve touched — may not be safe for you to want your child to be sharing.”

In response to Ferrer’s warning, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a Facebook Live chat that county deputies will not enforce masks, and he encouraged parents to exercise “common sense” on Halloween.

“We’re going to leave that alone,” Villanueva said. “By the time October 31st rolls around, let’s see what the conditions are at that time.”

Statistics over the past seven months have shown that long weekends and holidays lead to spikes in COVID-19 cases; as previously reported in the Asian Journal, the weeks following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July experienced dramatic surges in positive COVID-19 cases.
The effects of Labor Day weekend have yet to be observed due to the 14-day incubation period of COVID-19.

“I do want to reinforce the need for us to remain cautious as we go about all of our business during the day and evening, remembering that we can be positive and infect others at any point in time, and others can infect us and the people we love at any point in time,” Ferrer reminded.

In place of traditional Halloween activities and events, the county issued some suggestions for alternative celebrations. The county recommended holding online parties, car parades in their neighborhoods and more elaborate in-home parties among those living in one household. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

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