SAN ANTONIO – Halloween will be like no other in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Hershey’s is offering some tips for safe, socially distanced parties.
The candy company is using a map of COVID-19 risk levels, ranging from green to red, to help people determine “the best activities for your zone."
The map, from the Harvard Global Health Institute, labels U.S. states and countries based on the seven-day moving average of new cases per 100,000 residents and virus-related deaths.
Both Bexar County and Texas land in the “orange” zone, which means Halloween fans need to take additional precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus, according to Hershey’s.
Hershey’s “orange” zone recommends:
- Trick-or-treat in reverse by dressing up children in costumes and hanging out in the front yard.
- Ride in a trick-or-treat driveby while in costumes to deliver candy.
- Have a costume week and dress up for more days than Oct. 31.
- Create a neighborhood candy hunt by making a trick-or-treat treasure map.
- Set up a neighborhood pub crawl by having driveway drinking stations.
Nonetheless, thrill-seekers should stay home if they’re sick, trick-or-treat with the people they live with, stay 6-feet apart from others, wash their hands and use hand sanitizer, and wear a face mask, Hershey’s recommends.
The company also recommends homeowners mark lines outside their houses for 6-foot social distancing, give out candy on clean tables to minimize contact and register as an official Halloween safe house.
The map lists North Dakota — with a seven-day rolling average of 36.7 new cases — as the only state in the “red” zone. That zone calls for parties with limited invitations, virtual gatherings and candy stations inside homes, among other tips.
COVID-19 cases in the Dakotas are growing faster than anywhere else in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
Vermont lands as the only state in the “green” zone.
To help thwart the further spread of COVID-19, Los Angeles axed trick-or-treating weeks ahead of Halloween, but then backed down from an outright ban and put trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating on a list of activities that are not recommended. Gatherings and parties with people outside a household are banned.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg has said it’s too early to tell which route San Antonio will take.
“This reminds me of walking into a store on Halloween and hearing Christmas carols. It’s a bit early to have that discussion,” he said during a briefing last week.
On Monday, San Antonio reported 50,016 total COVID-19 cases and 1,016 total deaths. The 7-day moving average of cases is 128, but no new deaths were reported Monday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services on Monday said the state’s virus case count is 663,445 and the death toll is 14,211.