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Jonesboro Mayor urges COVID caution at Halloween

Mayor Harold Perrin urges residents participating in Halloween events to remember COVID safety when deciding to trick-or-treat or gather in groups this season.

While the mayor does not want to cancel Halloween festivities, he reminds residents that area hospitals are dealing with scores of coronavirus cases, and the Jonesboro area has seen unprecedented spikes in cases over the past week. As of Monday, the U.S. overall has endured its highest seven-day average of cases since the pandemic began.

Arkansas Department of Health guidance requires anyone who is sick or in quarantine to neither participate in festivities nor give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

“This is a unique situation this year, and Halloween is only the first of many traditional gatherings,” Perrin said. “It’s important that we do it right.”

Perrin and ADH recommend low-risk activities such as scavenger hunts for treats and virtual parties. Perrin said anyone handing out candy should take extra precautions about contact with trick-or-treaters, and trick-or-treaters should notice houses with exterior lights turned off as those choosing not to receive guests.

“Some people will not want to open their doors for large numbers of strangers at this time, especially if they have underlying conditions or are sick themselves,” said Perrin, who is undergoing chemotherapy and therefore will not participate in the annual tradition this year at his home.

ADH guidelines include wearing masks – breathable fabrics rather than traditional Halloween masks – and social distancing. Perrin said everyone should carry sanitizing wipes while out and trick-or-treaters should accept only treats that are prepackaged.

Perrin also warns against Halloween parties among adults and older teens.

“An indoor party with a lot of people from many different homes has the potential to become a super spreader,” Perrin said. “Please don’t participate in these type of events.”

This is a press release from the City of Jonesboro.