Late last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced several recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the Halloween holiday. New York State’s Health Department has issued guidance for New Yorkers if they plan on taking part in more traditional Halloween activities this year. While state officials would rather see New Yorkers celebrate the holiday with members of their immediate household and participate in activities limited to those persons, there is a recognition that many New Yorkers will opt to celebrate Halloween outside of the home and with others beyond their immediate family. To that end, the Health Department has set forth a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” to keep the community safe during this holiday. So whether you have young ones at home begging to go trick or treating, are thinking of having some friends over for a “Friday, the 13th” marathon or wondering how you should hand out those mini Milk Duds and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups instead of eating them yourself, here are some of the recommendations offered by the State Health Department:
- Trick-or-treat only with your household family group;
- All individuals over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear face coverings or cloth masks. Most Halloween masks won’t be sufficient to meet Department of Health guidance, so ensure you wear a face covering that provides adequate protection;
- Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before, during and after any Halloween activities;
- Always stay socially distanced from those who are not living in your household;
- If you are going to hand out treats, avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters. As such, give treats outdoors. Set up a station with individually bagged or packaged treats for kids to take. The treats should be commercially wrapped that are; and
- The treat should be individually wrapped in a sealed wrapper or baggy, and is available to grab and go placed separately from other treats, so kids can easily pick up their treats without touching candy another child will take. No bowls and the grab and go should be six feet from the home’s front door.
- Trick-or-treat or leave out candy if you are sick, live with someone who is sick, have been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days, are under isolation or quarantine, or have traveled internationally or to a state affected by the NYS Travel Advisory in the last 14 days;
- Participate in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed out at the door and where you cannot stay socially distanced;
- Pick out candy from a bowl or receive candy directly from someone’s hands;
- Trick-or-treat in crowded streets or neighborhoods where social distance cannot be maintained;
- Host or attend a party or any type of gathering or event, whether it is indoors or outdoors over the mass gathering limits set for your area;
- Wear a Halloween mask instead of a face covering, unless the Halloween mask meets the face covering guidance; and
- Wear a Halloween costume mask OVER a cloth face mask; it can make it difficult to breathe.