LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada health officials have released guidance for celebrating Halloween safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is important that we do all we can to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus while having fun on these special days," said a statement from Nevada Health Response.
The guidance provides general guidelines to prevent disease transmission, and separates common Halloween activities into three categories -- low-risk, moderate-risk and high-risk.
Generally, outdoor gatherings are considered safer than indoor. Regardless of vaccination status, everyone must follow Nevada's mask mandate which requires individuals wear face coverings in public indoor spaces and in crowded outdoor settings if they live in a county that the state has classified as having high transmission levels.
Individuals can check the status of their county and whether it is under a mask mandate here: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/current-status-mitigation-measures/.
As of Oct. 22, all counties except Esmeralda County were under the state's mask mandate.
Nevada Health Response issued the following recommendations for trick-or-treating:
- Socially distance at least six feet from people who are not in your household.
- Wear a mask -- incorporate it with your costume.
- Download the COVID Trace app, available here: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/covidtrace/
- Limit time spent in crowded doorways, if trick-or-treating door-to-door.
- Wash your hands before eating candy and after touching high-contact surfaces.
- Wait until you get home to eat candy.
Pumpkin carving and decorating with members of your household, scavenger hunts, and virtual costume contests, scary movie nights and costume contests all were considered low risk activities by state health officials. Pumpkin carving with people outside your household, small outdoor costume parades with predetermined routes, and socially distanced, one-way pumpkin patch routes were considered to be of moderate risk.
And indoor haunted houses and crowded indoor costume parties were considered to be high risk activities. State health officials urge anyone planning on hosting a private Halloween gathering to review CDC Guidance on activities, gatherings and holidays: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/
Generally, pumpkin patches, haunted houses and corn mazes in public spaces should adhere to state and local orders, use timed reservations if possible to limit occupants, lines and areas of congestion, implement a one-way flow of traffic with signs and directional arrows and spacing indicators, use signs to remind participants of masks social distancing and sanitizing protocols, provide hand washing/sanitizing stations, eliminate high-touch props and consider exclusively outdoor spaces.
Regardless of the activity, Nevada Health Response urged residents to get the vaccine if they have not already done so, to continue frequent hand washing and sanitizing of high-contact surfaces, and to stay home and follow CDC guidelines on isolating and getting tested if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html