SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — As San Diego County heads into a Halloweekend, public health officials are urging members of the public to practice COVID-19 protocols -- including avoiding large gatherings such as Halloween parties and door-to-door trick-or-treating.
"These activities involve face-to-face interactions with people from different households," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "If a COVID-19 infection is detected among a participant, it will be very difficult to find and notify those who may have been exposed."
“SDSU Halloween party this Friday!” was written in bold letters on a flyer posted on Twitter this week. The account is marked private and only approved followers will know where the party is being held.
“These parties have 2 to 300 people in the backyard. How are you going to identify who was at that party?” asked Jean Hoeger, a member of the College Area Public Safety Resident group. “The minute the police are there, they’re up and going through the fences, our back yards. They’re gone, they book it.”
After issuing a stay-at-home advisory, the university released a statement Thursday as a reminder, saying in part:
“Students are not to host parties or to host and attend gatherings in ways that are not in compliance with the state’s public health order, the county’s guidelines and university policies. As you are aware, SDSU has also implemented a Stay-at-Home Advisory and all students are encouraged to remain home through the advisory period.”
The advisory period will last until Monday, Nov. 2. Still, neighbors say they’re expecting the parties to go on anyway.
These traditional Halloween celebrations are not advised, and large gatherings are not allowed, under state or local health guidance. The county has reported dozens of community outbreaks in the past week.
Wooten said some alternate activities to make sure children can have a safe and fun holiday include:
-- Online parties/contests such as costume or pumpkin carving;
-- Drive-through events and car parades;
-- Decorating up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations;
-- Movie nights with household members or at a drive-in theater; and
-- Pumpkin patches where people use hand sanitizer and maintain 6-feet of distance from others.
"Please be safe and stay healthy this Halloween weekend," Wooten said. "A boo and a cackle can be great fun, but COVID is definitely not."
A full list of county recommendations for what -- and what not -- to do over the Halloween weekend can be found here.