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Saginaw County health officials urge trick-or-treaters to weigh risks in advance

Officials in Los Angeles banned trick-or-treating due to the risk of coronavirus.
Officials in Los Angeles banned trick-or-treating due to the risk of coronavirus.(KSWB via CNN)
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 2:05 PM EDT
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SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Trick-or-treating will be allowed on Halloween this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic, but the Saginaw County Health Department is asking families to consider a simple question.

Is trick-or-treating really worth the risk this fall?

The health department likened the decision of whether little ghouls and goblins should go door-to-door collecting treats to parents' decision of whether to send their children back to school this fall. Health officials say the decision should be made considering family dynamics and health history.

Other considerations include whether neighbors are wearing proper face coverings and practicing social distancing or whether kids are responsible enough to keep their face coverings on.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation last week against trick-or-treating, but the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will allow it to continue this year with some guidelines.

The health department says risks of coronavirus exposure increase anytime people leave their homes. The risks of trick-or-treating are different in neighborhoods that attract large throngs of children and alternative activities may be possible this year.

State health officials offered the following tips for children and their parents:

  • Talk with children before Halloween about the changes in trick-or-treating and why they are necessary.
  • Don’t take part in trick-or-treating if anyone in the household recently tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Instruct children about social distancing guidelines and the importance of remaining six feet from others.
  • Only trick-or-treat with people from the same household and avoid congregating in large groups.
  • Wear a face covering over the nose and mouth, but costume masks don’t count.
  • Consider a neighborhood costume parade rather than going door-to-door.

Common coronavirus safety measures also should be followed, such as staying home with any symptoms of the illness and using hand sanitizer often during the night.

Homeowners passing out Halloween candy are asked to use the following health and safety measures:

  • Use tape to mark lines six feet apart leading to the door where candy is being passed out.
  • Put a table between people giving out and receiving candy -- and disinfect the table often.
  • Consider passing out candy in an open space rather than bringing people to the door.
  • Don’t pass out candy if anyone in the household has an active case of COVID-19.

For anyone planning Halloween parties, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s updated order on capacity limits remains in effect. Indoor residential gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer people not from the same household or 20 people per 1,000 square feet at commercial event venues.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people at residences or 30 people per 1,000 square feet at outdoor commercial event venues.

Everyone at parties is required to wear a mask or face covering under Whitmer’s orders. Food and party favors should be set out individually to prevent cross contamination.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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