SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The state has issued guidelines for Halloween, and once again the coronavirus means a holiday unlike any we've seen. The news wasn't unexpected, but it is still disappointing for so many families.
The state secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services says those holiday traditions, mixing people together, kids reaching into get their treats is simply too risky in the time of coronavirus.
Halloween is just weeks away, usually a time for parties and trick or treating, but this year the state's Health and Human Services Secretary is strongly recommending against any parties and is urging families to stay home this year.
"The whole act of going door to door in groups," said Dr. Mark Ghaly from California Health and Human Services. "Ringing doorbells. Digging into buckets of delicious candy create a risk of spreading COVID-19."
The state says it is relying on people to do the right thing, and keep interactions to a minimum.
"Does that mean trick or treaters there will be some enforcement? Absolutely not," said Dr. Ghaly. "We don't want to turn what is a celebration and a time of joy into something that is difficult or contentious."
The state recommending alternate activities this year that don't involve interacting with large groups. "Really celebrating at home there are some fun ideas," said Dr. Ghaly. "My family considered some of these already. Creating a haunted house or a candy hunt. Having a scary movie night. Painting faces and carving pumpkins.
Dr. Ghaly says the state's coronavirus numbers are generally trending in the right direction, but going into the winter months as more people want to gather for parties from Halloween to Thanksgiving to the holidays things will get more challenging.
The key he says will be holding off on those get togethers as much as possible, or at least keeping those gatherings to three or less households at a time.
He is encouraging people to get the flu shot and keep washing hands and wearing masks.