Ahead of Halloween this year, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth announced Wednesday residents can trick-or-treat within the city, despite state and county officials recommending against traditional practices due to the pandemic.
“If you wish to trick-or-treat or trunk-or-treat in Santa Clarita, while the state is recommending against it, it is allowable within the city of Santa Clarita,” he said during a live city broadcast.
Los Angeles County Public Health officials said Wednesday cities cannot issue less-restrictive measures than the county, but because the county’s guidelines on certain Halloween practices such as trick-or-treating are only recommendations, the city is not in violation.
The county had previously issued measures prohibiting these activities, but later reversed them to read that they are not recommended, following backlash from residents who argued that such practices can safely continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, California released its restrictions, “strongly” discouraging door-to-door activities “we know pose a high risk of spreading COVID,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said during a news conference.
Residents are still expected to follow safety measures, such as physical distancing and wearing face masks and being mindful of others during the holiday, according to Smyth.
“If you want to trick-or-treat, be conscious of your neighbors or those in homes that you would usually hit on your streets, your usual routes,” he said. “Be sensitive to that, that you may have members of the community that aren’t comfortable yet. And, so, respect that and just move on to another home that is clearly displaying their willingness to participate in that.”
Activities that are prohibited under county and state guidance include large gatherings, festivals, carnivals, haunted house attractions or live entertainment. As a safer alternative to some of these activities, the city announced in September a drive-thru experience at the George A. Caravalho Santa Clarita Sports Complex, which has sold out. Residents will still have a chance to visit a public viewing of scarecrows created by community members at the Sports Complex on Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the city will not be citing individuals who choose to partake in trick-or-treating or similar activities, said Smyth.