California Eases Coronavirus Restrictions For 10 Counties, Release Guidelines For Halloween

Oct 13, 2020

The state of California says it is “strongly discouraging” trick-or-treating this Halloween as it tries to contain and reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.

At a news conference Tuesday, State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that trick-or-treating brings a risk of virus exposure and makes contact tracing extremely difficult.

“The safest way to celebrate is at home with your household or virtually," Ghaly said. "Virtual celebrations create a number of new opportunities for how to celebrate Halloween. Creating a haunted house or a candy hunt, having a scary movie night, painting faces and carving pumpkins."

The state also released new guidelines for celebrating Halloween and Día de Los Muertos. The guidelines do allow for having an outdoor meal with two other households. There are also suggestions for ways to make an outdoor or a virtual altar to honor deceased loved ones during Día de Los Muertos.

Dr. Ghaly also announced that 10 counties moved to less-restrictive Coronavirus tiers.

Placer County is moving into the orange (moderate) tier and several Central Valley counties are moving into the red (substantial) tier.

The announcement covers the latest changes in the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which allows local health officials to gradually reopen indoor and outdoor businesses based on their county’s case rate and the percentage of tests coming back positive.

“It’s fair to make some comparisons across different parts of the state, and there will be some meaningful differences," Ghaly said Tuesday.

"But I will tell you that in each county it is sort of an up and down, and they’re all working through it in their own unique ways with the support of the state and their local public health leaders.”

In the moderate tier, Placer County restaurants can open indoors at 50% capacity or for a maximum of 200 people, whichever is smaller. Bars where meals aren’t provided can continue serving patrons outside. Gyms and fitness centers can open indoors at 25% capacity. Movie theatres can open indoors at 50% capacity.

Sierra County became one of just eight counties to reach the yellow (minimal) tier for areas with a positivity rate of under 2%. In those counties, bars, cardrooms, arcades, indoor playgrounds, roller skating rinks and a few other activities can open indoors at 50% capacity.

Colusa, Kern, Kings, San Benito, Stanislaus and Sutter counties will now move into the red tier.