The City of Danville urges residents to start planning now on ways to protect themselves and others this Halloween in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Virginia Department of Health has designated both trick-or-treating to a large number of houses and large gatherings to be high-risk activities. It encourages people to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing from those that do not live in the same household. 

Also, the CDC encourages households to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and to place them in the yard or driveway for easy grab-and-go. The agency discourages traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, communal candy bowls and indoor parties.

“Some activities pose higher risks than others,” City Manager Ken Larking said Friday. “While the City of Danville cannot ‘cancel’ trick-or-treating, we ask our residents to stay healthy and safe during Halloween.” 

In general, the more closely those participating in Halloween activities interact with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. 

For people who are more likely to experience severe illness from COVID-19, Dr. Scott J. Spillmann, director of the Pittsylvania-Danville and Southside Health Districts, says celebrating virtually or with members of their household may be the safest way to enjoy the holiday.

“Some people, especially those at higher risk for illness, may choose not to participate in Halloween festivities this year,” Spillmann said.

The Virginia Department of Health recommends not trick or treating in large groups or outside your neighborhood, and not holding indoor haunted houses or other large Halloween parties.

Citizens should consider alternative activities such as decorating your living space, carving pumpkins with people who live with you, or having a virtual Halloween costume contest.

Danville Parks and Recreation has canceled the annual Monster Market Mash at the Community Market. However, it will hold a Halloween Costume 5K Run and a Kid’s Pumpkin Run.

The event will be held Oct. 31 at the Carrington Pavilion. Runners are encouraged to wear a costume during the run to be a part of the costume contest after the race. Registration is required.

To learn more about how to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 during the Halloween season, see VDH Interim Guidelines for Participating in Halloween Events and the CDC’s Guidance for Holiday Celebrations.

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