JACKSON — Jackson County Health Commissioner Kevin Aston has released an update regarding “Trick-or-Treat” in Jackson County.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Jackson County since September 23rd when the Jackson County Health Department (JCHD) did a press release about Halloween,” stated Aston. “Jackson County is suffering from coronavirus more than just about anywhere else right now.”

Aston added, “This development has raised the question of whether or not we should still have Trick-or-Treat this year. After discussing the matter with the Mayors and Commissioners, we have decided that we will still have Trick-or-Treat if, and only if, households do not mix with each other and all other infection prevention precautions are followed.”

“Trick-or-Treat” will still be held countywide in Jackson County on Halloween evening, which is Saturday, Oct. 31. Trick-or-Treat hours will be held between 5:30-7 p.m. in Coalton, Jackson, Oak Hill, and Wellston.

These precautions include:

1. The number one, most important rule to follow is: trick-or-treaters must stay in small groups comprised of only people they share a household with, and children should be accompanied by their parent or guardian. Do not gather with other family groups, we do not want kids from different households to Trick-or-Treat in groups, since this mixing of different households is the main cause of the of the virus spreading.

2. All participants must wear a cloth mask or a Halloween mask for those dressing in costume.

3. Try to use a creative, safer way to hand out candy, such as by placing treats on porch steps or a table in the driveway with a sign asking children to take only one and have hand sanitizer available right nearby. Or use a candy “slide” made of PVC pipe, or hang treats from a wall or fence.

4. Wipe off candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes when you arrive home. (Note: Never wipe unpackaged food with wipes.)

5. If you are feeling sick in any way, even a little bit, stay home and/or don’t pass out candy.

“We considered cancelling Trick-or-Treat, but we have decided to allow people to have the opportunity to try and celebrate this holiday responsibly by following these instructions,” explained Aston. “How well or poorly people do at following these instructions will inform future decisions about whether public events are held or cancelled.”

Aston said, “The JCHD considers Halloween parties to be far riskier than Trick-or-Treating when it comes to the risk of the catching the virus. Do not hold large in-person Halloween parties this year. If holding smaller parties, please limit attendance to 10 or fewer people and hold the event in an outdoor area where social distancing is possible.”

Aston wrapped up by saying that everyone needs to be respectful of homes and families that choose not to participate in trick-or-treat this year.

“This year is not the year to play tricks on homes that don’t hand out candy,” stated Aston. “We must each decide for ourselves what level of risk we want to take, and whatever we each decide, we each must remember that the precautions we each take to prevent the virus from spreading to other people might spare someone else from suffering from a severe illness.”

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