Ohio – Halloween may feel and look a lot different to many people across the nation as states continue to battle COVID-19 among rising and record-breaking case numbers.
That’s why health officials and some local Ohio law enforcement are urging residents to continue to practice safety measures to prevent another spike of infections.
On Friday, the Aurora Police Department posted on Facebook, saying they’re aware of parties slated to take place this weekend to celebrate Halloween.
“While we understand everyone is growing tired of all the restrictions, it would be tragic if an individual in attendance were to take something home to parents, siblings, or worse yet grandparents,” the department wrote.
The message comes as Ohio broke a record twice this week for day-to-day COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, the state reported 3,590. It was then surpassed Friday with 3,845 new cases, the highest reported since the pandemic began.
The positivity rate also jumped to 6.1%, tying with the high set on July 25.
Many cities have also been canceling or postponing trick-or-treating. Port Clinton in Ottawa County plans to host a city-wide trick-or-treat next Saturday, depending on case numbers. Ottawa County is one of many under Red Alert Level 3, the second-highest indication of COVID-19 spread under a state ranking.
The Lake County General Health District along with a variety of other health departments across the state urged residents to practice safety, and gave these tips:
- Put out bags of candy instead of bowls of candy to prevent children digging through candy, creating a high risk of spread.
- Place signs asking children to take the candy one at a time around the area and put markers on the ground to help keep them six feet apart.
- Have a masked adult hand out candy with a table inbetween the child and the adult, and sanitize after each trick-or-treater.
However, in other areas like Kent, stopping the spread may be a bit harder.
Officials are trying to put a stop to what the city is known for: Kent Halloween.
Kent State sudents, community members and people from around the state show up in massive crowds for the holiday, which has been a tradition for decades. Around 20 years ago, the crowds got so large, SWAT had to be called in. Throughout the years, police have prepared for crowds of up to 20,000 people.
This year, they hope that’s not the case.
As Portage County remains at Red Alert Level 3, the city imposed an ordinance that bans mass gatherings of 10 or more people. Those who violate it are subject to fines administered by the city health department.
Halloween comes as the state is facing it’s worth month in the pandemic so far. October’s total cases surpassed July’s total — which used to have the most cases on record — by nearly 3,000 cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Overall, health officials are warning to be safe and smart when planning activities Saturday to help curb spikes in infections.