By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The state announced Halloween COVID-19 guidance encouraging social distancing while trick-or-treating, and the governor took questions in a virtual news conference last week.
Those passing out candy should maintain six feet from trick-or-treaters and wear proper face coverings, according to the guidance, and trick-or-treating should be done in groups with household members only.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said households should consider leaving individually wrapped candy on a table in driveways or in front of walkways to allow for social distancing
“For anyone wearing a costume – whether a child or an adult – a costume mask is not a substitute for face covering,” Ezike said. “If face coverings are worn under the costume mask, please ensure that this does not create any breathing problems, and if it does, don't discard your face covering. Put the costume mask aside.”
Indoor haunted houses are not allowed, per Phase 4 state guidance, and IDPH suggested open-air alternatives such as one-way haunted forests or haunted walks where social distancing can be maintained.
At pumpkin patches, face coverings should be worn and hands sanitized before handling pumpkins. On hayrides, parties should be spaced six feet apart and they should not exceed 50 percent capacity.
Also per Phase 4 guidelines, gatherings of more than 50 people or 50 percent or more of a building’s maximum occupancy are prohibited, including for Halloween parties.
(Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.)