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Los Angeles backtracks on coronavirus trick-or-treat ban this Halloween

Trick-or-treating won’t be banned in Los Angeles County anymore this Halloween but it’s still “not recommended,” health officials said.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday revised its Halloween guidance aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Door-to-door trick-or-treating had originally been banned “because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors especially in neighborhoods that are popular with trick or treaters,” the health department said in a news release.

But now the health department is only recommending against it.

“We are recommending that trick-or-treating not happen this year,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, told reporters Wednesday. “It’s just not sensible in a pandemic,” she said.

Though trick-or-treating typically takes place outdoors, Ferrer said, there’s no guarantee that people opening their doors will be wearing a mask, are not sick or not touched the candy being offered.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his deputies will not be enforcing the issue.

“We’re going to leave that alone. We want parents out there to practice some common sense,” Villanueva said during a Facebook Live chat.

“By the time October 31st rolls around, let’s see what the conditions are at that time. And if there’s some type of trick-or-treating that will be permissible, that’s going to be up to the public health experts on that,” he added.

The guidance bans gatherings or parties with non-household members — even when held outdoors. Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions are also prohibited.

To celebrate the holiday, the county’s public health department said residents could organize online parties and car parades, in which participants remain in their vehicles.

Los Angeles County — the nation’s most populous with more than 10 million residents — remains in the first tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening system. As of Tuesday, the county had reported 249,241 positive cases and 6,036 deaths.

Last week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a bit of “good news,” saying that the number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 in the city had dropped to its lowest level since early April.

But he warned residents not to confuse the improved hospitalization with the infection rate and reiterated that countywide restrictions would remain in place.

CNN

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