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Trick-or-treating (Getty Images via CBS News)

Los Angeles County warns against trick-or-treating this Halloween due to coronavirus

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday put out guidance on how to celebrate Halloween safely, saying some of the traditional ways of celebrating do “not allow you to minimize contact with non-household members.” The county first said that trick-or-treating would be banned due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but later revised its guidelines to say that it’s permitted, but not recommended.

“Door to door trick or treating is not recommended because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors, ensure that everyone answering or coming to the door is appropriately masked to prevent disease spread, and because sharing food is risky,” the new guidance reads.

Trunk-or-treating, in which children go from car-to-car instead of door-to-door, is also not recommended for similar reasons.

Gatherings and parties with non-household members, as well as carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted house attractions are prohibited.

Instead, the L.A. County Department of Public Health suggests people celebrate with online parties or contests, Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters, Halloween themed meals at outdoor restaurants, Halloween art installations at outdoor museums, and home and yard decorations.

The county’s department of health also suggests celebrating Halloween with car parades – which have become a popular way to celebrate birthdays during the pandemic.

The department suggests “drive by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive by ‘judges’ that are appropriately physically distanced.” They also suggest drive-thru Halloween displays or drive-thru events where individuals can receive a treat bag, rather than traditional trick-or-treating.

Regardless of how people choose to celebrate, the county’s department of health says it is important to follow ongoing health guidance like wearing a mask, keeping social distance, frequently washing hands and staying home if you are sick.

It also warned people to “beware of scams, false news and hoaxes surrounding novel coronavirus.” Accurate information will always be distributed by Public Health through press releases, social media, and on the department’s website, the guidance reads.

There have been over 249,000 reported coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County and more than 6,000 coronavirus deaths, according to the health department. According to data from Johns Hopkins, L.A. County has more confirmed cases and deaths than any other county in the country.

Across the state of California there have been more than 737,000 confirmed cases and 13,700 deaths due to the virus, according to state data.

Author: CAITLIN O'KANE, CBS News
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