Trick-or-treat's a go
Get those costumes and candy ready: The governor says he will not ban trick-or-treating in New York
ALBANY — Let them eat candy.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday he has no plans to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween amid concerns nationwide about whether kids going door to door could create a safety hazard during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"! would not ban trick or treaters going door to door. I don't think that's appropriate," Cuomo told News12 on Long Island.
"You have neighbors — if you want to go knock on your neighbor's door, God bless you and I can’t tell you not to."
Cuomo's comments come after Los Angeles last week prohibited Halloween activities, like trick-or-treating, but later revised its guidelines to say celebrations are permitted but are not recommended.
New York has the most COVID deaths in the nation, but now has among the lowest infection rates as mask wearing, social distancing and business restrictions have limited the spread.
Cuomo suggested he might have more guidance on precautions that families might want to take on Oct. 31, but has no plans to put in a statewide ban.
"If you want to go for a walk with your child through the neighborhood, I'm not gonna tell you can't take your child to the neighborhood. I'm not going to do that," he continued.
"I'll give you my advice and guidance, and then you'll make a decision what you do that night."
New York has taken a cautious approach to reopening, slowing allowing businesses to reopen since May.
But nursing homes still need to have 28 days of being COVID free before loved ones can visit, and venues for large events, like comedy clubs, amusement parks, arenas and theaters remain closed.
"Nobody wants to open everything more aggressively than me. You know why?" Cuomo said Tuesday on Long Island News Radio. "Cause I sit here all day long and everybody calls me and complains about their circumstance, right?"
He said he would like to open more places, but, "We're not out of the woods. Everybody is feeling confident, good. Cocky is not good, and we're still in this."
Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Health and UC Davis Children’s Hospital, told USA TODAY that families should avoid trick-or-treating amid the pandemic.
He says even in areas with a low risk of transmission, the door-to-door activity could spur an outbreak as people travel in packs through neighborhoods.
"I just don’t see how it’s feasible to do this safely," he said.
But Dr. Sandra Kesh, an infectious disease physician at Westmed Medical Group in Purchase, Westchester County, told USA TODAY it's possible to safely trick-or-treat this year, yet there are caveats.
She said if COVID-19 is not well-controlled in your area, you should refrain.
But safety steps, such as limiting trick-or-treating to three or four kids, wearing masks and wiping down candy could help mitigate the risk.
"I think having a very serious conversation with your kids that if you are going to take them trick-or-treating, that the rules have to be followed and respected otherwise the game is over," she said.