Halloween trick-o-treaters will be out and about on Saturday night, but there are some restrictions and special events planned to help keep children safe as the coronavirus continues it’s upward tick in Mississippi and the nation.
Forest trick-o-treaters will not be banned but door-to-door candy collection is being discouraged by local officials. “Door-to-door trick-o-treating is highly discouraged in the city,” Mayor Nancy Chambers said. “In order to be supportive of our schools and teachers, we do not think that children need to be exposed to people who may have been in contact with the virus or who may actually have the virus while trick-o-treating and people are not comfortable with strangers coming to their door at this time.”
In neighboring Morton, Mayor Gerald Keeton said Monday that there will be no door-to-door trick-o-treating allowed, however the city parks and recreation department is sponsoring a drive-by candy distribution between Morton Elementary School and Morton High School. The event starts at 6 p.m. for children 12 and under. There are also some drive-by events planned at random locations on Hwy. 481 North.
Sebastopol trick-o-treating will be allowed from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in neighborhoods but town officials are asking residents to prepare treat bags to hand out to reduce the hand-to-hand contact and chance of virus spread.
Lake officials said Monday that there will not be any restrictions on trick-o-treating in that town.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday that he recommended no trick-o-treating this year. “Stay home, stay safe, and do something with your family he said.
Realizing that was likely not going to happen Dobbs added that he also recommends treat bags and that costumed characters should also wear face coverings, even if their costumes include a mask. Halloween masks, he said, would not serve as a replacement for cloth face coverings. Again he reminded trick-o-treaters and those traveling with them to maintain at least a six foot distance between theirselves and other people who are not members of their immediate family.
As an upward trend of COVID-19 contaminations continued nationwide as well as in Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves on Monday expanded his executive order requiring facial coverings in certain “hot spot” counties to include neighboring Leake County in Central Mississippi. Neshoba County was put under the same mandate last week.
Currently there are 16 counties in the state with expanded restrictions as well as mandated use of facial coverings while in public. Those counties are Harrison, Madison, Marshall, Jones, Carroll, Leake, Benton, Desoto, Jackson, Lee, Forrest, Lamar, Chickasaw, Claiborne, Itawamba, and Neshoba.
As of Tuesday’s report from the Mississippi State Department of Health there were an additional 854 new positive cases of COVID-19 being reported for that day with 20 additional deaths statewide bringing the total number of cases since the pandemic began up to 116,617 with 3,283 deaths. As of Tuesday, Scott County was reporting a total of 1,262 positive cases since March with 29 deaths, an increase of 24 positive cases, but no additional deaths since the same time last week.