SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Public-health and law enforcement authorities in the San Diego area are urging locals to avoid the temptation to let down their guard against the coronavirus by indulging in traditional Halloween activities.
“Like (on) any other day, deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will be out on patrol on Halloween to make sure our communities are safe,” the agency asserted in a prepared statement. “With the state and local public health orders still in effect, we highly encourage everyone to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our region.”
On Friday, public-health officials issued cease-and-desist orders to eight addresses around San Diego State University, warning that any parties or large gatherings in violation of public-health orders could be slapped with misdemeanor citations.
“We were compelled to take this action because there is a great deal at stake,” said Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Let me be very clear, the region’s livelihood hangs in the balance and is directly tied to our individual and collective actions.
Wooten noted that the county was “on the brink” of moving to more restrictive public requirements due to the continued spread of the virus.
“Know that our place on one tier or another is not based on the state’s assessment — it is intrinsically tied to our personal and common efforts,” she said, “The risk of contracting COVID-19 is increased when we come in contact with individuals outside our households. Every decision each of us makes should be guided by that knowledge.”
Several of the cease-and-desist notices were to private residences, while others were sent to fraternities and sororities.
Wooten’s letter stated that failure to comply with the guidelines could result in a criminal misdemeanor citation with a $1,000 fine for each violation.
All students at San Diego State University remain under a stay-at-home advisory. The advisory began at 6 p.m. Friday and will run through Monday at 6 a.m. University officials said the move was made to discourage students from participating in Halloween events in which physical distancing cannot be done. Students are advised to stay home unless they have an essential need.
County officials have instituted the following guidelines to help the public enjoy Halloween safely:
- In-person events or parties containing people from more than three households are not permitted, even if they are conducted outdoors;
- Carnivals, festivals, petting zoos and live entertainment are not allowed, because frequent interaction with high-touch surfaces by children and participants increase the risk of COVID-19 infection to the community;
- Haunted houses are not recommended, due to close contact between participants and poorly ventilated areas; and
- Virtual parties/events and drive-thru Halloween events are encouraged as alternatives to door-to-door trick-or-treating.
Check out this full list of San Diego County recommendations for what — and what not — to do over the Halloween weekend.