The annual Halloween costume march and trick-or-treat event through downtown Tracy has been cancelled and the county and state have recommended against trick or treating through neighborhoods this Halloween because of safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Tracy City Center Association district manager Kristin Barrios said, “Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, we will not hold our annual Halloween Trick-or-Treat event in Downtown Tracy. Unfortunately, we are unable to ensure everyone and their families will be able to socially distance safely and properly.
“We hope to contribute in slowing the spread of the virus and will organize events when we feel it can be done safely.”
In the past the trick-or-treating and costume march has attracted hundreds of children and adults and packed the route along 10th Street to Central Avenue, ending at the Sixth Street traffic circle.
The California Department of Public Health released their recommendations for Halloween activities, strongly discouraging trick-or-treating, saying in a Tuesday news release that it promotes the mixing of households, which can increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
San Joaquin Public Health Services followed shortly after with a statement encouraging residents to follow the state guidance.
The state said trick-or-treating, without necessary modifications, promotes congregating and mixing of households — particularly on crowded doorsteps — which can increase the spread of COVID-19.
That type of mixing of households is not currently permitted. If there is a positive COVID-19 case detected, it would be difficult to do contact tracing and find everyone who had been potentially exposed.
If people do decide to participate in trick-or-treating, the state cautioned that face coverings should still be worn, adding that plastic, rubber and vinyl Halloween costume masks are not acceptable in place of a cloth mask.
People should maintain a six-foot distance between themselves and wash or sanitize their hands often.
If people are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, or if they have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive, they should stay home.
People in high-risk groups ─ including elderly adults or people with chronic medical conditions ─ should discourage trick-or-treaters from coming to their door by turning off porch lights and any lighted Halloween decorations.
The state offered these suggestions as alternatives to trick-or-treating:
• Create a haunted house or candy scavenger hunt in your own home
• Have a scary movie night and Halloween themed activities
• Participate in online parties or contests
• Drive through an area with Halloween yard displays or attend a car based outing where people don’t leave their cars
• Eat a Halloween-themed meal
• Decorate your home and grounds with a Halloween theme
• Giving Halloween treats to only people in your household
• Give a curated playlist or themed treats to friends ahead of time
• Make a facemask based on your Halloween costume
• Prepare a Halloween basket for children or have a Halloween hunt in your backyard
To celebrate Dia de los Muertos safer, the state suggest these options:
• Create an altar in a window so other people can view it safely at a distance
• Make virtual space or altar and share with family and friends by email or social media
• When visiting the cemetery, only visit with family members you live with, wear a facemask while keeping social distancing and limit time spent at the cemetery.
The county issued a public health order on Tuesday allowing private outdoor gatherings of up to three different households. The county order reflects a state guidance that was issued on Friday.
The order says the gatherings can be outdoors under awnings, gazebos or other shade structures as long as three sides are open to outdoor breezes.
The order states that physical distance between households should remain at six feet and facemasks should be work except when eating or drinking. Gatherings are recommended to be at two hours or less to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
For more information and to see the state Halloween guidance, visit www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Guidance.aspx. To view the county’s health order visit http://www.sjcphs.org/covid19/orders_guidance.aspx.
If anyone has questions about the guidance or thinks someone is violating the health order, visit sjready.org.
• Contact the Tracy Press at email@example.com or 835-3030.