DPHSS encourages alternative Halloween celebrations; issues requirements for door-to-door trick-or-treating

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The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has issued Guidance Memo 2020-042, relative to the minimum requirements in the celebration of Halloween.

DPHSS discourages traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. Social gatherings of more than five (5) individuals (i.e. Halloween and/or costume parties, haunted houses, etc.) are strictly prohibited.

The following guidelines are designed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The DPHSS strongly encourages safe alternative activities to enjoying Halloween such as:

  • Decorating and carving pumpkins with only those in the same household;

  • Decorating your home;

  • Admiring Halloween decorations in your neighborhood at a distance;

  • Reading classic Halloween stories with those in the same household;

  • Baking Halloween-themed cookies;

  • Watching Halloween-themed movies or shows at your house;

  • Hiding Halloween treats in and around the house;

  • Participating in safe curbside trick-or-treating events sponsored by responsible businesses;

  • Holding drive-by costume or car-decorating contests with judges who are physically distanced; and/or

  • Holding a virtual Halloween costume contest so everyone can show off their costume.

In the event individuals choose to participate in traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, DPHSS provides requirements below for all individuals involved.

  1. General Guidance
  • Individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms or COVID-19-like symptoms are prohibited from participating in trick-or-treating.

  • Trick-or-treat only with members of the same household.

  • Face masks coverings must be worn by all individuals with the exception of children under the age of 2 or anyone who has difficulty breathing or a history of trouble breathing.

  • Households that have individuals under isolation or under quarantine due to COVID-19 are strictly prohibited from participating in any trick-or-treating activities.

  • All individuals participating in any trick-or-treating activities are advised to properly wash hands before and after each activity.

  • Consider household members who may be at greater risk of complications if COVID-19 is brought into the home, such as those with underlying health conditions, women who are pregnant, or older family members.

  1. Guidance for Individuals/Households Distributing Treats

  • Wash hands properly before and after handling treats.

  • Wear a face mask at all times.

  • Avoid direct contact with other trick-or-treaters and maintain social distancing of six (6) feet or more.

  • Treats should only be distributed outdoors.

  • Use store-bought treats that are individually plastic-wrapped.

  • Adults should be the individuals distributing treats while wearing a face mask and hand sanitizing between trick-or-treaters.

  • It is highly encouraged to practice safer, socially distant ways to conduct door-to-door trick-or-treating and distributing treats:

    • Set up a table/station outdoors with individually bagged treats spaced apart for trick-or-treaters to take.

    • Use a candy slide made of PVC pipe, or hanging treats from a wall or fence.

  • It is highly encouraged to use tongs, a spoon, or a tray to distribute treats. Children should not be allowed to retrieve their treats from a bowl or bag.

  • COVID-19 positive individuals or individuals in quarantine are strictly prohibited from distributing any treats.

  1. Guidance for Parents/Guardians/Adults Responsible for Underage Trick-or-Treaters and for Trick-or-Treaters

  • Parents/Guardians should talk with their children about safety precautions and physical distancing in preparation of trick-or-treating.

  • If your child is at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, contact your doctor before allowing participation in Halloween activities.

  • Wear a face mask:

    • Highly encouraged to make face masks a part of Halloween costumes.

    • A costume mask is not a substitute for a face mask.

    • Do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask or a cloth mask over a costume mask as it may make breathing more difficult.

  • Practice social distancing:

    • Stay at least six (6) feet away from others who do not live in the same household

    • Individuals are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when in close contact with others for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period.

  • Wash your hands:

    • Bring hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) with you and use it after touching objects or other individuals.

    • Parents/Guardians: supervise young children using hand sanitizers.

    • Wash hands with soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds when you get home and before you consume any treats.

  • Upon completion of trick-or-treating, it is highly advised to:

    • Leave treats out for 48 hours before consuming.

    • Allow children to eat only original, factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats made by strangers.

  1. Guidance for Business Operators Distributing Treats

  • It is highly discouraged for businesses to distribute treats in an enclosed or indoor area or in an in-person and non-curbside manner.

  • Outdoor, drive-up, and curbside is highly preferable during the distribution of treats.

    • For Employees Distributing Treats:

      • Face masks are required to be worn by all employees distributing treats.

      • Hands must be washed by employees with soap for a minimum of twenty (20) seconds or with hand sanitizer (with 60% or more alcohol) before handling treats. Use hand sanitizers between servicing trick-or-treating vehicles.

      • It is highly encouraged to use tongs, a spoon, or a tray to distribute treats. Children should not be allowed to retrieve their treats from a bowl or bag.

    • For Individuals Receiving Treats:

      • Individuals shall not exit their vehicles.

      • Turn off any mechanical ventilation (i.e. fan and air conditioning) of the vehicle before driving up to receive treats.

      • Face masks must be worn by all individuals in the vehicle while receiving treats.

  • All other DPHSS guidance memos and minimum requirements must be followed to include, but not be limited to:

    • Follow all occupancy requirements and limitations currently in effect.

    • Do not allow any congregation of individuals.

    • Have hand sanitizers readily available to all customers.

    • Eliminate all common seating, congregate, or play areas where children and others might gather.

    • Follow all other DPHSS guidance memos and minimum requirements currently in effect.

The DPHSS also asks the public to download the Guam COVID Alert app.  For more information visit https://guamcovidalert.guam.gov. For additional questions, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at 300-9579 between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit dphss.guam.gov or guamrecovery.com. For inquiries on COVID-19, contact 311 through a local number, or call the Joint Information Center at (671) 478-0208/09/10.

(JIC Release No. 415)

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