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According to the CDC, many traditional Halloween activities can be higher risk for spreading viruses.
Press Release Desk , News Partner
October 13, 2020
The City of Cambridge announced today that it is canceling all City-sponsored Halloween events and will not be issuing street closure, block party, or park permits this year for community events to help prevent large groups of trick-or-treaters and others from congregating in close proximity. City-sponsored events include annual Halloween open houses hosted by the Cambridge Fire Department and Halloween activities sponsored by the Department of Human Service Program's Community Schools.
"Community celebrations are an important part of civic life in Cambridge; however, we must continue to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures. Traditional door to door trick-or-treating is a higher risk activity and I strongly encourage residents to consider safer alternatives," said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. "We have a collective obligation this Halloween – and every day – to engage in behaviors that help Cambridge remain a lower risk community.
"Our decision to cancel the City's annual Halloween events this year was not made lightly. We know this year has been hard on our residents, particularly families with younger children, and this is just one more sacrifice we are asking our families to make for the greater well-being, safety and health of our City," says Mayor Siddiqui. "I encourage residents and families to celebrate Halloween through the variety of lower risk activities listed in the CDC guidelines."
The City of Cambridge urges residents planning to celebrate Halloween to follow the guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to engage in only lower or moderate risk activities to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Halloween activities are subject to the current state gathering size limits as well as applicable any sector-specific workplace safety standards.
“We are asking residents to have a safe and fun Halloween this year and avoid higher risk activities,” said Claude A. Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer and director of the Cambridge Public Health Department. “Because the risk of COVID-19 transmission is greatest in indoors, we especially want to caution residents to avoid crowded indoor parties and haunted houses."
Residents should stay home and refrain from Halloween activities, including handing out Halloween treats, if they feel unwell, have tested positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have traveled to or from a state that is not classified as lower risk within the last 14 days.
According to the CDC, many traditional Halloween activities can be higher risk for spreading viruses. The CDC categorizes Halloween activities into higher, moderate, and lower risk activities. It is recommended to avoid higher-risk activities and consider engaging in only lower to moderate risk alternatives this year.
Higher risk activities include:
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
- Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
- Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
- Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
- Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
Moderate risk activities include:
- Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go. Tips:
- If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
- Leave the goodie bags at the end of your driveway or edge of your yard and consider leaving hand sanitizer next to the treats for children to use.
- Families should discourage children from eating candy while trick-or-treating. Once home, have children wash their hands. If you are concerned about coronavirus transmission from candy wrappers, consider “quarantining” Halloween candy for three days. Throw away any candy that is not individually wrapped.
- Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
- Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
- Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart
Lower risk activities include:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
To sign up to receive updates on COVID-19, please visit the City's dedicated information page: https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19 .
This press release was produced by the City of Cambridge . The views expressed here are the author's own.
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