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Yorkville officials announce official Halloween trick-or-treating hours amid pandemic concerns

File photo: Isabella Shepard and Clare Joschko made their way to the businesses participating in one of the "Concentrated trick-or-treating" zones in downtown Yorkville during the Biz Boo Business Trick-or-Treat on Oct. 26, 2019.
File photo: Isabella Shepard and Clare Joschko made their way to the businesses participating in one of the "Concentrated trick-or-treating" zones in downtown Yorkville during the Biz Boo Business Trick-or-Treat on Oct. 26, 2019.

YORKVILLE – Yorkville city officials announced their trick-or-treat hours during their regular City Council meeting this week.

Yorkville Mayor John Purcell said during the Tuesday, Sept. 22 City Council meeting that trick-or-treating hours are officially from 3 to 7 p.m. this year. He said the city is extending the hours a little longer than usual this year because Halloween is on a Saturday this time around and participants can better social distance with the extra time.

Purcell said anyone who wants to participate may feel free to do so. For those who don't, he said, residents can opt out as well.

“So if anybody asks, that’s the plan,” Purcell told city officials.

The update comes after Yorkville business and city officials said they were cautiously optimistic about trick-or-treating happening in some fashion this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. City staff previously said they were waiting for additional health and safety guidance and similar event logistics to be ironed out in the meantime.

Sherri Farley, executive director for the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that, for now, the annual Biz Boo business trick-or-treating event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 24 within the city and organized by both the chamber and the Yorkville Parks and Recreation department. Like anything this year, she said, the event is still subject to change pending the region's or state's COVID-19 case numbers status.

City Administrator Bart Olson said Tuesday the city may issue some guidelines or recommendations for trick-or-treating families per Kendall County Health Department or Illinois Department of Public Health. He said staff will review those guidelines as they come in.

Olson said trick-or-treating has been relatively hands off from the city's end in the past. He said the city typically just announces times and that's it.

“We really don’t really permit or prohibit anybody from trick or treating,” Olson said.

Olson said the city has recommended residents to leave their porch light on if they plan on participating and to keep those lights off if they're not.

“I would assume that same guideline would apply for this year,” Olson said.

The Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday released pandemic-related health and safety guidance for Halloween. Among the provided guidance are recommendations to not attend crowded indoor parties, parades, hayrides or haunted houses where social distancing cannot occur and people would be among others whom they do not live with.

The CDC is considering traditional trick-or-treating a higher risk activity, with treats typically being handed to children going door to door. A lower risk alternative includes preparing individually wrapped goodie bags and lining them up at the end of a driveway or the edge of a yard for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance, according to the agency.

"If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags," the agency said in the guidance.

The CDC also said costume masks are not a substitute for regular cloth masks but urged people to not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it could be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. The agency said people could just wear a Halloween-themed cloth mask with their costumes.

The CDC said haunted forests are lower risk as long as pedestrian traffic is one-way. The agency is urging people to consider other safer alternatives to celebrate the holiday, including having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart.

"If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised," according to the agency. "The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus."

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