CAMDEN, NJ — Camden city issued its annual 3 to 8 p.m. voluntary curfew for trick-or-treaters heading out on Halloween this Saturday. 

Spokesman Vincent Basara said Tuesday that although the curfew is sent out every year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the city is additionally recommending that any costumed-residents wear face masks, practice social distancing and adhere to health protocols. 

Four days before Halloween, the Camden County Health Department announced 89 more positive coronavirus cases, for a total of 12,225. Camden city on its own tallied an additional 20 cases for 3,130 total and 88 deaths since the outbreak began in March.

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"We've continued to encourage those who do head out to follow CDC and Health Department guidelines, we want everyone to be safe," Basara said.

Previously, the city has said that while it will leave the decision up to parents whether they head out on Halloween, it hopes locals work to minimize contact and mitigate the spread of the respiratory illness. Residents can also consider heading to one or more of the various Camden events scheduled for this week.

On its website, the CDC says, "Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses...If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters."

The New Jersey Department of Health has also provided guidance to help kids (and adults) celebrate Halloween amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In communities across our state, Halloween is more than just a fun activity, but a community and family tradition,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “This guidance offers the appropriate public health and safety protocols to ensure that everyone has the chance to enjoy Halloween in a safe and responsible manner.”

The CDC provided the following list of activities and regulations to consider this year:

Lower risk activities

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

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)
    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
  • 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
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
  • 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.
    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

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 judgement 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

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