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Fall River Board of Health issues Halloween guidance, suggests avoiding trick-or-treating

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The Fall River Board of Health and Department of Health and Human Services has released guidance on how residents can safely take part in Halloween. The following suggestions aim to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Many common traditions, such as trick-or-treating are considered high-risk for spreading COVID-19. The Fall River Board of Health and Department of Health and Human Services strongly encourages residents to focus on limiting activities to those you live with, participating in virtual events and contests, and focusing on decorating your home, apartment, or living space.

In the guidance, it states that Halloween activities must comply with state standards, including gathering size limits, mask requirements, and any applicable sector-specific workplace safety standards.

They recommend the following low-risk Halloween activities:
 Online parties/contests (e.g. costume or pumpkin carving)
 Dressing up homes, apartments or windows with Halloween themed decorations.
 Having a scavenger hunt “trick-or-treat” with your household members in or around your home as an alternative for house-to-house style trick or treating
 Visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch, while wearing a mask and maintaining distance
 Car parades or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive by “judges” that are appropriately physically distanced

They recommend avoiding participation in the following high-risk activities.
 Door to door trick or treating
 “Trunk or treating” where children go from car to car instead of door to door for treats
 Indoor Parties
 Haunted Houses
 Using alcohol or drugs that may impair judgement and increase risky behaviors

The guidance went on to state that regardless of how you choose to celebrate Halloween, it is important to keep the following in mind:

 Maintain appropriate social distance (6ft or more) from anyone not included in your household. Especially important while talking, eating, or drinking
 Wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around others that are not part of your household
 A Halloween mask does not replace a face covering, if a Halloween mask is worn, a cloth face covering must also be worn.
 Avoid confined spaces – Actively stay away from indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least 6ft between you and others
 Wash or sanitize your hands often
 Clean frequently touched items regularly
 If you are sick, or you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 stay home, away from others, and do not participate in any Halloween celebrations.
 If you have recently returned to Massachusetts from a state included in the Governor’s Travel Orders and are in quarantine and/or awaiting test results you must follow orders and exclude yourself from participation in any Halloween events.
 Consider alternative methods to interacting and/or distributing treats
o “No contact” trick-or-treating, where treats are placed outside and trick-or-treaters can “grab and go”
o Use a platter or cookie sheet instead of a bowl and space candy out

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