San Diego County planning guidance around Halloween

Halloween trick-or-treating at San Diego malls, shopping centers
Posted at 6:37 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 21:37:54-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County will plan their own guidance around trick-or-treating and celebrating Halloween next month while staying safe during the pandemic.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said the county will develop guidance surrounding how to safely celebrate the holiday while adhering to public health orders. Wooten added that they will also take cues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency's guidance as well.

Wooten said the county plans to have those recommendations by the end of the month.

"During the cloud of the pandemic, we have to get joy where we can. So we will be awaiting CDC guidelines but we'll be coming up with a process, a protocol," said Wooten. "For example, a drive-thru Halloween event to allow children to don their Halloween costumes and we plan to probably have that codified by the end of this month.

RELATED: Los Angeles County backs off trick-or-treating ban, but advises strongly against it

"But right now, there is no discrete plan."

Tuesday, Los Angeles County issued guidelines that banned trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treat, in which children take candy from parked cars, under the county health order. Wednesday, county officials walked back that guidance and said the trick-or-treating is "not recommended."

"Trick-or-treating, we're highly recommending that it not happen," Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "We don't think it's an appropriate activity during a pandemic. ... You know, there's no guarantee when you go trick-or-treating that your child goes up to a house where the person who opens the door is wearing a face covering. And when you don't know the people opening the door, there's no guarantee they're not sick and that the candy they're passing out that they've touched may not be safe for you to want your child to be sharing."

Wednesday, San Diego County reported 247 new coronavirus cases, bringing the region's total to 41,324. The county also has 22 community outbreaks in the last seven days.

What's unclear is how California's new color-coded tier system to affect how any holiday guidance is established.

Last month, the state issued a new tier system that divided counties into four tiers. San Diego is currently in the second tier, red or "substantial," reserved for counties with four to seven cases per 100,000 and 5% to 8% testing positivity.

Wednesday, the county reported that one of those metrics, case rate, neared 7 cases while positivity sat at 4.2%. A county needs to display metrics in a higher or lower tier for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that tier.