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Clark County releases guidelines for a COVID-safe Halloween

Clark County Public Health is asking people to consider taking actions to mitigate the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19 this Halloween season.
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Lighted Halloween Pumpkin Jack o Lantern Wearing Covid PPE Mask On Steps

CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — Clark County Public Health is urging people to take precautions during Halloween activities to mitigate the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. It said that virus activity in the county is slowing but remains high.

“We want people to be able to enjoy Halloween. But with virus activity still high, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “You can still have fun while celebrating safely.”

Last week, in Clark County, the case rate was 450.9 cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days, which is comparable to peak rates during the winter months, according to Clark County.

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It released an outline of how to remain safe during a number of activities that someone might partake in during the spooky season:

Pumpkin patches

While Clark County points out that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities when it comes to spreading and catching the virus, it said that crowded pumpkin patches can pose a threat. It suggested taking the following steps:

  • Wear a face covering. Face coverings are required to be worn at large outdoor events with 500 people or more and strongly recommended at any crowded outdoor setting where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Keep your distance. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from people in different households.
  • Use hand sanitizer after touching shared surfaces, such as handrails and wheelbarrows. And wash hands with soap and water upon returning home.
  • If you’re feeling sick, stay home.

Halloween parties

Clark County said that celebrating at home with members of your household is the safest option and that it would be safest to skip large gatherings with people from multiple households.

People who choose to attend gatherings can take simple steps to make the events less risky:

  • Gather outdoors, which is often safer than gathering indoors.
  • If gathering indoors, open doors and windows to increase the amount of fresh air in the room.
  • Wear a mask if gathering indoors or when outdoors and unable to stay 6 feet from others.
  • Gather with other people who are vaccinated. Gatherings are safer if everyone who is able is vaccinated.
  • Keep the gathering small.
  • Don’t host or attend a gathering if you’re feeling sick.

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Large groups of trick-or-treaters going door to door can pose a higher risk for virus transmission – for people giving and receiving candy.

Make trick-or-treating safer for children and adults by taking these steps:

  • Avoid traveling in big groups. Instead, stick with members of the same household.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other groups of trick-or-treaters.
  • Incorporate snug cloth face coverings into costumes.
  • Wash hands before and after trick-or-treating. Bring hand sanitizer to use while trick-or-treating.
  • If you’re feeling sick, stay home.

People who plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters can also take steps to make the visits safer:

  • Create grab bags of treats, rather than having kids dig through a communal bowl of treats.
  • Set treats on a table outside and greet visitors from a lawn chair at least 6 feet away. Or try a creative approach, like sliding candy down a long tube.
  • Use little pumpkins or other markers on the ground to help visitors stay at least 6 feet apart.