The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to circulate throughout Monterey County causing severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths among our residents. Individuals can spread COVID-19 even without symptoms. The primary means of spread involves droplets created by coughing, sneezing and talking, virus particles on hard surfaces can also spread COVID-19. For these reasons, reducing close contact with individuals outside your household, wearing masks, practicing hand hygiene, and staying home when not feeling well are all important measures to slow the spread. Many traditional Halloween activities are risky activities that could increase the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, as they do not allow you to minimize contact with nonhousehold members and create more opportunities for the virus to pass from person to person.
The Monterey Health Department is encouraging residents to seek out safer holiday activities this year:
Not Permitted (gatherings and events are not currently allowed under local and state health orders):
- Halloween gatherings, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted unless they are part of your social circle of 12 individuals or less, are conducted outdoors, and are otherwise in compliance Social Circle Guidance.
- Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions are not allowed.
- Door to door trick or treating is not recommended because it can be very difficult to maintain proper physical distancing on porches and at front doors, ensure that everyone answering or coming to the door is appropriately masked to prevent disease spread, and it involves touching high contact surfaces such as doorbells and candy bowls.
- “Trunk or treating” where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats is also not recommended, since it is difficult to avoid crowding and sharing food.
Permitted and Encouraged:
- Online parties/contests (e.g. costume or pumpkin carving)
- Car parades that comply with public health guidance for vehicle-based parades including:
- Drive by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive by “judges” that are appropriately physically distanced.
- Drive through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an are with Halloween displays.
- Drive in events where individuals can receive a treat bag (limited to commercially package non-perishable treats) or take away item from an organizer while the participants remain in their vehicle.
- Halloween movie nights at drive in theaters (must comply with the state drive in movie theater guidance https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-family-entertainment--en.pdf.
- Halloween themed meals at outdoor restaurants (must comply with the state restaurant guidance https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-outdoor-restaurants--en.pdf.
- Halloween themed art installations at an outdoor museum (must comply with the state museum guidance https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-outdoor-museums--en.pdf
- Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations.
PERSONAL PROTECTION MEASURES:
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Halloween it is important to keep the following in mind:
- Correctly wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around others that are not part of your household.
- Outdoors is safer - Actively stay away from indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least 6 feet between you and others.
- Avoid close contact – Stay at least 6 feet away (3 or more adult steps) from all other people who are not part of your own household, especially while talking, eating, drinking, and singing.
- Wash or sanitize your hands often.
- Clean high touch items regularly.
- If you are sick, or you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 please stay home and away from others.
- Get tested for COVID-19 if you are sick, you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 or have regular contact with others outside your household due to work, shopping or social activities. Contact your healthcare provider for a test, call 211 or go to: www.montereycountycovid19.com.