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Health officials in Michiana outline factors that could impact Halloween

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 4:35 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Buchanan City Commission approved two Halloween events during their meeting Monday night.

16 News Now spoke to county health officials to learn what COVID -19 precautions you should think about as we get closer to October.

With many trick or treaters already wearing a mask as part of their costumes, the Halloween tradition comes with some built-in COVID precautions.

Local health officials say there are other factors to consider before going out to trick or treat.

St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says his top concern is people not being able to social distance.

He says that can easily be managed because most trick or treating happens outside.

“You want to reduce the likelihood of large groups of kids congregating. So thinking about the kids in your household or maybe a very small select group that’s going door to door,” he said.

In addition to limiting the number of people per group, he recommends parents and their kids use hand sanitizer frequently while going door to door.

He also advised waiting until you’re back home and away from others before digging into the candy.

Homeowners should individually pass out candy to avoid multiple people reaching into a common bowl.

Berrien County health officials say they’re paying attention to COVID-19 trends in their county to determine what the best practices will be, come late October.

“Not only are we looking at the total percentage of positive tests coming in for COVID-19, but we’re also looking at the rates of cases as their coming in, seeing if those thresholds are on the lower end which would help us determine whether community transmission is at a favorable or lower level that would let us know whether some things like trick or treating would be acceptable,” said Berrien County Health Department communications specialist Gillian Conrad.

Conrad says while activities like trick or treating are easier to pull-off given social distancing guidelines, hosting Halloween themed gatherings likely won’t be recommended.

The Berrien County Health Department shared a great resource with us to help monitor the risk level of going trick or treating.

You can head to Halloween2020.org for great ideas on how to celebrate Halloween while staying safe.

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