Health officials encourage safe, healthy Halloween activities

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 5:32 AM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Halloween always brings communities together. This year, despite COVID concerns, the Virginia Department of Health is encouraging people not to cancel their Halloween traditions- simply modify them.

It’s the spookiest season of the year, though many would argue the year 2020 has been wrought with frights. COVID-19 has forced people to modify their ways of life and Halloween is no exception.

Despite the rumors on social media, epidemiologist Jason Deese at the New River Health District said, "No, absolutely not. Halloween is not canceled. In fact, to me Halloween is the best holiday of the year.”

He added that it’s also the most COVID-safe holiday of the year.

“It’s a mostly outdoor occasion, which makes it a safer type of holiday," he said.

Even the traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is a safe activity because interacting with neighbors to get candy falls outside the parameters of the spread of COVID, which is 6 feet or less for 15 minutes or more.

“Encounters are very brief and it’s highly unlikely that you would see COVID transmitted that way," he explained.

And though candy shoots are a fun way to social distantly pass out candy, it’s not necessary.

“Following the science, the virus isn’t transmitted in any large degree through surface contamination," he explained.

Deese said the biggest things to avoid are crowded indoor parties and driving from neighborhood to neighborhood with friends outside your immediate circle.

“Because then you’re putting people in an enclosed space and close to each other, so we’d rather you just go trick-or-treating door-to-door like normal," he said. "I’m not worried about people passing out candy, stuff like that. Just wash your hands before you do the whole trick or treating thing.”

When it comes to wearing PPE or cloth masks, Deese said it’s not necessary to do so along with your costume mask. One or the other is fine. If you’re socially distant outside, you don’t need to wear a mask at all.

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