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Triangle leaders, health experts express caution, safety when celebrating Halloween

Posted October 30, 2020 7:51 p.m. EDT

— Many of us have experienced COVID-19 fatigue, and we’re itching to get back to the way things were.

With Halloween on Saturday, Triangle city leaders and experts are reminding people if they plan to celebrate, they need to do so in a safe way. They also say your actions this weekend could have a major impact on the coronavirus trends we’re seeing across the state.

“There is so much at stake," said Cameron Wolfe, a Duke infectious disease specialist

Halloween is a day many people look forward to celebrating. This year, however, it won't look quite the same.

“Halloween is going to be different this year," Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said. "It has to be different this year. We need people to consider safety over having their usual celebratory time.”

Many cities across the Triangle, including Chapel Hill, will not be celebrating Halloween like they normally do.

“We aren’t closing down the streets, we want people to find other ways to celebrate the evening, whether virtually or dressing up, and going outside in their own communities," Hemminger said. "But staying apart from each other and being very conscientious that this virus is on the uprise right now.“

Chapel Hill and Raleigh are among the cities and towns in the Triangle following guidelines provided by the Department of Health and Human Services for Halloween.

“Social distance, to make sure that they are wearing masks," Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said.

Health experts say you can have some sense of normalcy but stress that younger people, university students and adults, do so thoughtfully.

“I wouldn’t have parties. I wouldn’t have large gatherings for Halloween because again that just increases the danger," said WakeMed Infection Prevention Specialist Jessica Dixon. "If you want to see friends, certainly be outdoors be socially distant.”

As for bar crawls, like those planned in Raleigh and Rocky Mount, experts have a simple message for the hundreds of people who’ve already signed up to attend.

"Don’t do it," Wolfe said. "I can’t say the message any clearer than that. For goodness sake, we know it does not work in this, and throwing a bunch of people in a bar is a recipe for a bunch of folks to get sick. I’m sorry to sound blunt but I’ve been bleeding this for nine months, it doesn’t work.”

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