PROVIDENCE — After Gov. Gina M. Raimondo gave her approval this week to trick-or-treating and other Halloween festivities, state Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott gave guidelines for keeping the holiday safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want Halloween to go on but it has to be done differently this year,” Alexander-Scott said Wednesday during a briefing with the governor.
One big difference:
“This is not the year for Halloween parties with people from outside of your household,” the doctor said.
But trick-or-treating has the seal of approval as long as a fewer concessions to the coronavirus are observed, she said.
For people distributing candy:
‒Do not open your door to trick-or-treaters. When trick-or-treaters are at your door or on your steps or porch, stay inside.
‒Do not hand out candy. Do not have candy available in a bowl for people to choose from. Instead, leave out goodie bags for trick-or-treaters to take. Or leave wrapped pieces of candy spread out on a baking sheet. Replace them as needed only when no one is on your steps or porch.
*Do not leave out candy if you are feeling sick.
*Wash hands often.
For grownups of trick-or-treaters:
*Check your children for symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, before they leave the house and keep them home if they have any symptoms. “It’s critical to do that in advance,” Alexander-Scott said. Symptoms include a cough, fever or chills; shortness of breath; muscle or body aches; diarrhea; headache; sore throat; and nausea.
‒Cloth face coverings are required. “It does not mean using a Halloween mask,” the doctor said. “The Halloween mask is not enough.” She suggested making a cloth face covering that coordinates with the costume.
‒Do not go trick-or-treating if you feel sick.
‒Stay with your regular contacts, your small, stable group, no more than 15 people.
‒Bring hand sanitizer and use it after each house, or as often as you can.
Alexander-Scott underscored the importance of wearing cloth face coverings.
“That is the critical tool to help make Halloween safe this year,” she said. “We need people masking at all times with anyone that you’re interacting with outside of your household.”
The Health Department has posted information about coronavirus safety for Halloween and other fall activities on the Parks & Recreation tab of reopeningri.com. Look for “Tips for a safer Halloween” or “Phase III guidance for fall activities.” Information is available in English and in Spanish.
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