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Elkins to allow residential trick or treating

ELKINS — Elkins City Council has voted unanimously to allow residential trick or treating on Halloween night — but also released recommendations urging residents to participate safely in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Council members discussed the issue during Thursday’s Elkins City Council meeting, which was the first in-person council meeting in months, as all recent meetings had been conducted virtually online due to the pandemic.

“My thought is we should proceed with residential trick or treating,” First Ward Councilman Rob Chenoweth said. “It’s an outside activity that I think we can do responsibly. Kids are in schools, so I think we should move forward with it.”

Second Ward Councilman Charlie Friddle said, “I have a lot of concerns about residential trick or treating during COVID, but if the majority wants to move ahead, I’m fine with that.”

There was some discussion among council members about how best to ensure the safety of all participants.

“Here’s one idea,” Mayor Van Broughton said. “If a resident wants to participate, they turn their porch light on. If they don’t want to participate, they don’t turn the porch light on.”

Council voted unanimously during Thursday’s meeting to have residential trick or treating, to be done in accordance with safety protocols and precautions, adding that the city would provide a press release of recommendations on how to trick or treat safely during the pandemic.

On Friday afternoon the city released the following press statement:

“At last night’s meeting, Elkins Common Council did not restrict or limit Halloween trick-or-treating, which — as per a 2019 resolution of council — is always observed in Elkins on Oct. 31, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“However, council urges residents and trick-or-treaters to follow CDC recommendations for reducing the chances of transmitting the COVID-19 virus during Halloween celebrations.

“The CDC considers the following traditional Halloween activities to be “higher risk”: trick-or-treating (in which treats are handed directly to children who go door to door in groups), trunk-or-treat events, and indoor parties.

“As one alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, the CDC recommends “one-way trick-or-treating.” In one-way trick-or-treating, individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard). Persons preparing goodie bags for one-way trick-or-treating should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing the bags.

“Learn more about CDC recommendations for safer Halloween observances here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.”

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