Florida cities, health department set guidelines for trick-or-treating during pandemic

Coronavirus

BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay cities are trying to figure out how to safely hold Halloween festivities in a pandemic.

In Polk County, where the health department is reporting roughly 700 new COVID-19 cases a week, city officials are encouraging residents to use common sense.

Unlike other American cities, including Beverly Hills, CA, that have banned trick-or-treating, Bartow city commissioners passed a resolution setting guidelines.

“We are not imposing restrictions on anyone. We’re strongly encouraging them to be smart,” said Bartow City Manager George Long.

The resolution strongly encourages kids and their parents to wear face coverings and social distance.

“For example, setting out a candy bowl or a candy dish while distancing themselves a reasonable distance away from that,” said Long.

People who don’t feel comfortable handing out candy should make sure to keep all their outdoor lights off.

Bartow canceled its annual Halloween parade because of the pandemic.

Latest numbers show Polk County’s test positivity rate is over 8%, which is one of the highest rates in Tampa Bay.

“We’re strongly encouraging folks to do that. there are also kids who would ordinarily be out there who will not be out there this year,” said Long.

The Florida Department of Health advises people to give out goodie bags rather than individual pieces of candy as well as wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.

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