(Hawaii News Now) Mayor: Stay home on Halloween to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in coming weeks

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard and Mayor Kirk Caldwell urged Oahu residents to celebrate Halloween “differently” this year, without door-to-door trick-or-treating or large gatherings, to prevent an uptick in cases that could trigger new restrictions.

The mayor held back-to-back news conferences ― on Wednesday and again on Thursday ― to drive home the importance of avoiding large groups and close contact with others.

“We do not want to repeat the mistakes of our first opening,” Caldwell said, at a news conference Thursday at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

“Please don’t treat it like your old holidays. Do not go trick-or-treating.”

Halloween is on Saturday, prompting concern that some might ignore COVID-19 mandates while celebrating the holiday.

Social gatherings on Oahu are still limited to five people, but Caldwell said police have been called to several large gatherings in recent days.

Last weekend, he said, there was a large party on the slopes of Punchbowl and a baby luau elsewhere on the island that more than 130 people attended. Police had to be called to break up the gatherings.

“I want to emphasize no gatherings more than five and no house parties, please,” Caldwell said Wednesday, adding that if people let their guards down “we can ruin the economy.”

“Most important, we can ruin lives.”

On Wednesday, Ballard said police will be out in force islandwide to prevent large gatherings and ensure people are following the rules.

Caldwell has already reached out to hotels on Oahu to urge them to help prevent superspreader events and call the COVID-19 hotline if they see a violation.

[Read more: Mayor to hotels: We need your help to prevent superspreader events this Halloween]

And he’s asked residents to celebrate Halloween at home this year or with events that follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. He said trick-or-treating is higher risk and should be avoided.

“Don’t go door-to-door. I would recommend against that,” he said.

At Party City in Kalihi on Wednesday, the store was packed with shoppers trying to get creative.

“We’re 100% behind the governor and the mayor as far as social distancing and wearing your mask and trying to beat COVID by being responsible,” said Honolulu resident Mike Brice.

Some said they will be going trick-or-treating, but with limitations.

“Really small, take the kids down the street maybe a few different houses we know,” said Makakilo resident Laura Poe.

If Honolulu resident Angela Chiri gets trick-or-treaters, she vows to pass out candy safely.

“If we do get trick-or-treaters, we do have a grabber that can grab some candy. But don’t think we’ll see anything. So, we’ll probably just have popcorn and some scary movies.”

Other ideas to celebrate the holiday are drive-through trick-or-treating, a Halloween-themed outdoor scavenger hunt or virtual costume contests.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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