Guide to celebrating fall holidays during coronavirus

Noble Horvath

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Fall is here, which means the holiday season is upon us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for the upcoming holiday season. The CDC warns that hosts and attendees at holiday celebrations will need to take certain steps to limit the risk […]

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Fall is here, which means the holiday season is upon us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for the upcoming holiday season. The CDC warns that hosts and attendees at holiday celebrations will need to take certain steps to limit the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Topics

  • Balloon Fall Fest Information
  • Halloween Celebration Recommendations
  • Día de los Muertos Celebration Recommendations
  • Thanksgiving Celebration Recommendations
  • Holiday Travel

Zebra gives balloon crew a thumbs up to launch at Balloon Fiesta Park Sunday. (Allison Giron | Digital Content Producer)

With Balloon Fiesta canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city is finding a new way to bring balloons to the sky this fall. This year, the city will celebrate “Balloon Fall Fest.”

Small groups of balloons will launch from certain city parks at 7:30 a.m. on the mornings of October 3, 4, 7, 10, and 11. This year, for the Balloon Fall Fest some balloons are expected to launch from Ventana Ranch Park, Mariposa Basin Park and North Domingo Baca Park. The city says no spectators will be allowed at the launch locations. Balloons will also be widely spaced and crews will be limited to five people.

In addition to the pre-planned launches, the Parks and Recreation Department is also making Balloon Fiesta Park available the first week of October to balloonists who would like to launch from the park. No spectators will be allowed at the park, however, the goal is to fill the sky with balloons to help New Mexicans celebrate the tradition in a safe way.


Halloween Pumpkin Jack O’ Lantern Candy Bucket is covered with a face mask in this file photo. (Getty Images)

The City of Albuquerque will not be hosting several Halloween events due to the coronavirus pandemic. City-funded gatherings including Zoo Boo, Halloween in Old Town, and the Albuquerque Fire Rescue Haunted House are canceled this year in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

City officials are still anticipating Trunk or Treat at Balloon Fiesta Park to take place as it is a drive-up event.

The CDC says many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading the coronavirus. Traditional trick-or-treating, crowded parties and indoor haunted houses are among the activities the CDC says pose the highest risk for coronavirus transmission, and families should avoid them this year.

Lower Risk Activities

  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased
  • Setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased
  • Joining a virtual get-together celebration

Moderate Risk Activities

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where 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)
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.
  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart.
    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
    • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing.
  • 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. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

Higher Risk Activities

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors.
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.

Día de los Muertos celebrations at National Hispanic Cultural Center. (2019)

Día de los Muertos is a time for family and friends to honor the lives of loved ones they’ve lost over the years. However, due to the coroanvirus pandemic, the CDC is urging people to refrain from hosting large gatherings.

Low Risk Activities

  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed.
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased.
  • Setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased.
  • Joining a virtual get-together celebration.

Moderate Risk Activities

  • Having a small group outdoor, open-air parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.
  • Visiting and decorating graves of loved ones with household members only and keeping more than 6 feet away from others who may be in the area.
  • Hosting or attending a small dinner with local family and friends outdoors where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.

Higher Risk Activities

  • Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting.
  • Participating in crowded indoor gatherings or events.
  • Having a large dinner party with people from different households coming from different geographic locations.
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.

With Thanksgiving less than two months away, the CDC is urging people to refrain from traveling long distances to visit with family during the holiday, saying travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” the guidelines read. The CDC has listed three risk-levels for activities tied to the holiday.

Low Risk Activities

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday.
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.

Moderate Risk Activities

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community. Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing.
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place.

High Risk Activities

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race.
  • Attending crowded parades.
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household.

Holiday Travel

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. The CDC says staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. If you do decide to travel this holiday season, follow these safety measures during your trip to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public places.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

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