How big are the risks to trick or treat? Cleveland Clinic doctor gives Halloween safety tips

CLEVELAND (WJW)– From cardboard candy chutes to at-home candy scavenger hunts, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing people to come up with creative and unique ways to celebrate Halloween this year.

But for ghosts and goblins still being allowed to go door-to-door in several Northeast Ohio communities, how big are the risks?

“It’s gonna be challenging.”

Doctor Baruch Fertel, director of operations and quality for the emergency departments at the Cleveland Clinic says Halloween cannot look the same as it has in previous years, as the risks are just too high.

But there are lower-risk ideas.

“Put candy in a basket and maybe leave it at the door.”

But what if the candy-giver is asymptomatic for COVID?

“That’s a risk that we see when you go shopping in a grocery store, for an example. Um, it’s really not clear what the risk is in those cases, how long does the virus last on various substances?”

Doctor Fertel strongly encourages social-distancing when going door to door.

He also says the masks we’ve been wearing for the past several months should not be replaced with Halloween masks.

“What we recommend is a cloth mask, maybe one that has a Halloween theme or something like that would be great. They usually are multi-layered so they offer a little more protection.”

The Centers for Disease Control says going door to door is considered high-risk.

Moderate to lower risks include drive-thru or virtual costume competitions.

“Keeping your social circle small, keeping it tight, and doing the best we can to practice good hand hygiene and good facial hygiene.”

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