The Webster County Public Health Dept. has issued the statement below regarding trick or treating.
Residents who plan to welcome Halloween trick-or-treaters will be asked by Webster County Health Department to do more than just turn on their porch light, as public health precautions, including placing a red or green sign in the front window or door, will hopefully help to prevent some spread of COVID-19.
WCPH will print and distribute signs which can be placed in residents’ front windows or doors during each city’s designated trick-or-treat evening later this month. One sign will be colored in green letting trick-or-treaters and their parents know that they are welcome to ring the doorbell and ask for treats, so long as face masks are worn. The other side of the sign is red and wishes trick-or-treaters and their parents a happy Halloween, but lets them know that the residents’ of the home are not participating due to COVID-19 risks.
“We know that residents are wanting a semblance of normalcy,” said Kelli Bloomquist, Webster County Health Department public information officer. “Cities and towns have set their dates for children to go trick-or-treating. However, we are still in the middle of a public health pandemic. The signs will hopefully help trick-or-treaters and their parents know as they approach a home which residents are participating and which ones aren’t comfortable with doing so. Placing a sign in your window or front door, in addition to the typical front porch light being on or off, is a simple way to tell others if you aren’t comfortable with others coming to the door whether that be because the resident is high risk or possibly is in quarantine or in isolation due to being COVID positive.”
The signs will be printed this week and sign images will also be posted to Webster County Health Department’s social media pages allowing residents to print their own signage should they so choose. Residents can also place a red or green paper in their window if they do not have access to these newspapers or a printer.
Webster County Health Department also asks homeowners to place candy into each trick-or-treater’s bag, as opposed to having children reach into a communal bowl. Residents who are choosing to open their doors to trick-or-treaters are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask. Additionally, parents should allow the previous group to leave the front door before approaching the home to allow for social distancing.
“It is important to remember that we are still in a pandemic,” said Kari Prescott, Webster County Health Department Director. “COVID hasn’t gone away and while we all seek some normalcy, we still need to take precautions to ensure that residents and trick-or-treaters are doing all that they can to keep one another safe. If a resident, trick-or-treater or parent are in quarantine or isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure, it is imperative that they do not participate or break that isolation or quarantine. If a person isn’t feeling well and isn’t sure if their symptoms are COVID or something else, please do not participate in trick-or-treating so that you potentially don’t expose others to your germs. Masks should be worn by those handing out candy as well as trick-or-treaters and parents, especially if they will be walking in groups. Once home from trick-or-treating, wash hands with soap and water, wash all face masks that were worn, and wash costumes, coats, etc. that were worn.”
The red and green will be available on Webster County Health Department’s social media pages. For more information about COVID-19, please call Webster County Health Department’s COVID hotline at 515-227-7153 or email WebCoCOVID@WebsterCountyIA.