Chicago OKs trick-or-treating on Halloween with coronavirus precautions

Chicagoans going door-to-door on Halloween this year will have to wear masks and keep groups small to minimize risks of the coronavirus, city officials said Thursday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city’s top health official, Dr. Allison Arwady, dressed as the “Rona Destroyers” equipped with gloves, cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer for the announcement of the city’s Halloween rules.

Lightfoot said it’s unrealistic to tell people they can’t trick or treat but she said following the city’s rules can make it safer.

According to state health data, Chicago has reported 80,680 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,962 deaths linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic.

The rate of new cases and deaths in the city has slowed since peaking in the spring and Chicago health authorities reported an average of 4.3% positive tests among those performed during the last seven days.

Trick-or-treating groups will be limited to six people and have to keep moving between houses.

Anyone choosing to hand out candy is encouraged to use exterior lights or signs to let visitors know that it’s OK to approach their door. Everyone must wear face coverings, officials said.

Haunted houses, though, are banned this year. Arwady said a combination of tight spaces and screaming makes them too risky during a pandemic.

Adults have to be cautious too, Arwady added. People should avoid gathering in groups — ruling out house parties and other events, she said.

“We’re honestly more worried about COVID spreading among adults gathering indoors than about children outdoors trick or treating,” she said.

Public health officials on Thursday said another 2,166 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Illinois, the second time this week the daily caseload surpassed 2,000.