New health guidelines mean more restrictions during the holidays


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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released new guidelines for private gatherings on Oct. 9, on top of already established coronavirus safety guidelines. According to the state’s mandatory requirements for all gatherings the new guidelines demonstrate that all private gatherings are required to be outside and establish that attendees must not be from more than three different households.

These new guidelines do not apply to religious or cultural gatherings that already have policies in the state’s reopening plans.

Gov. Gavin Newsom emphasized during the press briefing that people should not let their guard down against the spread of COVID-19.

“That does not mean people should now rush back to their original form,” Newsom said, referring to the days before the pandemic and stay at home orders. “We are entering into the holidays — and also part of the year where things cool down, and people are more likely to congregate indoors and in settings that put their physical proximity and the likelihood of transmitting the disease at higher risk.”

According to state health data, California recorded more than 856,000 virus cases and 16,500 deaths related to the disease. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said, the new guidelines are, “Not to say it is a good idea or appropriate to gather with three families, but they really say, more than three households, you are increasing your risk.”

The new guidelines come just in time for the holidays. With Halloween around the corner, many Californians want a sense of normalcy. Ghaly also gave guidance on how to safely celebrate Halloween, “The state suggests protecting yourself and your community. You should not go trick-or-treating or mix with others outside allowed private gatherings this Halloween season.

“The whole act of going door to door in groups, ringing doorbells, digging into buckets of delicious candy, creates a risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Ghaly. With so much mixing going on with the exchange of candy on Halloween, Ghaly also noted that contact tracing the virus would nearly impossible.

“During this hard time, we know the importance of Halloween. We’ve outlined a number of important activities that can supplement and create alternatives in lieu of trick-or-treating.” Some of the more low-risk alternatives according to the CDPH include participating in online parties and contests, creating a candy scavenger hunt at your home, dressing up yards with decorations, and attending car-based outings where people do not leave their vehicle, similar to going to a drive-in movie theater or driving through and viewing Halloween displays.

Riverside County was recently given an extension from reverting to the purple tier in California’s reopening guidelines. Despite avoiding having to go back to more stringent restrictions that would close indoor operations for many businesses, Riverside County COVID-19 metrics continue to worsen for the second week in a row.

Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said that Riverside County would like to show that it can maintain the red tier ball simultaneously, preventing the virus spread from getting out of control.

County officials said that reverting to the purple tier would adversely impact small businesses like restaurants, gyms and movie theatres.

With the new guidelines and California wanting to go back to normal, the holiday season and you will be one of the most crucial times for the county to maintain within state coronavirus metrics to not revert back to local businesses’ restrictions.

For more information on Riverside County COVID-19 statistics, visit