City issues COVID-19 safety guidelines ahead of Halloween

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Grand Rapids said it wants families to have a fun and safe Halloween by following the recommendations issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Kent County Health Department and the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The city issued the following guidelines for homeowners:

  • Do not hand out candy if sick
  • Wear a facemask covering both mouth and nose
  • Use duct tape to mark 6-foot lines in front of the home and leading to driveway/front door
  • Position a distribution table between yourself and trick-or-treaters
  • Distribute candy on disinfected table to eliminate direct contact
  • Wash hands often
  • Consider handing out candy in an open space where distancing is possible, rather than from the front door. Consider a neighborhood costume parade, it is an easy way to keep safe space between children.

For parents and trick-or-treaters:

  • Share with children that this year may be different than last but let them know some of the new ways they can still celebrate.
  • Stay home if sick
  • Talk with children about safety and social distancing guidelines and expectations. Keep 6 feet of distance from others not in the family group.
  • Participate in one-way trick-or-treating and guide children to stay to the right to ensure social distancing.
  • Avoid congregating in groups around houses
  • Carry a flashlight at night and ensure children have reflective clothing
  • Wear a facemask covering both mouth and nose. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask if wearing both causes difficulty breathing. Consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • Only go to houses with safety measures in place
  • Inspect candy
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, especially before eating or after coughing/sneezing, and as soon as you return home.
  • Check out to find exciting activities and ways to celebrate Halloween this year based on levels of COVID-19 risks by area.

Residents should consider refraining from Halloween gatherings this year or use an online meeting platform to have a virtual party instead. For those who choose to have a gathering:

  • Only have a few people over to limit the possibility of crowding. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited by state executive order.
  • Have all food and party favors set out individually to prevent cross-contamination. Avoid buffet-style or shared food and drinks.
  • Make sure there are plenty of areas with hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Wear a festive facemask instead of a costume mask.

For those who plan to trick or treat or pass out candy on Halloween, the Grand Rapids Police Department offers the following safety tips:

  • Recommended trick-or-treating hours are 6-8 p.m.
  • Turn on the front porch light at dusk.
  • Only visit homes with a lit front porch light.
  • Trick or treat with a parent or adult chaperone.
  • Wear light-colored or reflective clothing after dusk.
  • Consider going house-to-house on the same side of the street and then double back on the other side. This will reduce the need to cross the street.
  • Walk on sidewalks when possible. When on the street, walk on the left side facing traffic.
  • Do not go into any stranger’s home or car, even if offered candy.
  • Do not eat any candy or other food until it has been examined by an adult.
  • Drivers should be especially aware and observant when driving through residential neighborhoods.

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