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Regional Interests

California’s Halloween Guidance: No Trick or Treating, No Parties

Please don’t go trick or treating, state public health officials urged Californians on Tuesday. And no Halloween parties, either, as both present a high risk of spreading COVID-19.

“The whole act of going door-to-door in groups, ringing doorbells, digging into buckets of delicious candy … create a risk of spreading COVID-19,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon.

In addition, should a COVID-19 case turn up, it would be very difficult to conduct adequate contact tracing, Ghaly added.

The safest way to celebrate is at home or virtually, public health officials said. Here’s a list of ideas state officials offered, both for celebrating Halloween and observing Día de los Muertos safely during the pandemic:

Create a haunted house at home or decorate your home and yard Conduct a candy hunt in your home or yard (see the advice on small gatherings below) Face painting and pumpkin carving Design face masks that match your Halloween costumes Hold an online costume or pumpkin carving contest Do car-based outings, like a drive-in movie or tour displays in your car Visit a Día de los Muertos themed art exhibit at an outdoor museum Create an altar outside or in a front window so others can view it at a safe distance or create a virtual altar If visiting a cemetery, wear masks and practice physical distancing

In an acknowledgement that the fall brings with it many celebrations, Dr. Ghaly reiterated newly-issued guidance for small gatherings:

Gatherings should include no more than three separate households Gatherings should be outdoors Gatherings should be limited to two hours

“As we enter into the weeks before Halloween and then into the other fall holidays and winter holidays, thank you all for continuing to work with us,” Ghaly said. “I know it’s difficult.”

Also announced Tuesday, the following counties were given permission to move into the state’s less restrictive color-coded tiers that govern which businesses and activities can resume:

Moving into the red tier for “substantial risk”: Colusa, Kern, Kings, San Benito, Sutter and Stanislaus counties Moving into the orange tier for “moderate risk”: Alameda, Placer and Santa Clara counties Moving into the yellow tier for “minimal risk”: Sierra County

— Monica Lam (@monicazlam)

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