CORONAVIRUS

Halloween Events Altered Or Canceled To Prevent COVID-19 Spread

Oct 30, 2020, 11:21 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State officials warned of the spread of the virus heading into the Halloween weekend, when more people are expected to get together at organized events and family gatherings.

“We bring people together to create an amazing experience and that’s it,” said Trey, CEO of Dope Soul Entertainment. “And we’ll do it as safe as we possibly can.”

The group has been in the events business for three years and they weren’t about to let the virus stop them from doing what they do best the night before Halloween.

“These guys get to go do something that’s fun and know that safety is there,” said Santino Pressley, chief of operations at Dope Soul Entertainment.

The high school dance party at Warehouse 22 in Syracuse is one of several Halloween events happening this weekend. Though many have made dramatic changes. The traditional haunted house during the Utah State University Howl, for example, was replaced with a drive-through haunted house in a field.

Other events also moved to a drive-through or something similar to keep people distant in a time when the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Friday’s daily increase of 2,292 cases broke the previous record.

“I think that we’re at a crisis point,” said Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, who oversees the Infectious Diseases Department at the University of Utah.

“I think that what they’re doing so far is not working,” he said, speaking of state leaders. “And there comes a certain point when things have to be enforced. And clearly asking people to do the right thing is not working.”

Dr. Swaminathan worries about people gathering this weekend and in the coming weeks. And he’s concerned about what’s ahead for hospitals if people don’t take the virus seriously.

“If the roads are at 95% capacity, the traffic can still keep moving. Once it reaches 105% capacity, there’s complete gridlock and a total breakdown of the system,” he said. “That’s what’s going to happen. If things keep going the way they are, that’s what’s going to happen.”

On Friday, the state issued an emergency alert to nearly all Utahns with a cell phone. It warned about the spread of the virus and hospitalizations, and it reminded Utahns that masks are required in high transmission areas and that there is a limit of 10 people at gatherings.

But people like Pressley weren’t impressed with the state’s message or its timing hours before their planned Halloween event.

“It comes out like an AMBER alert,” he said. “It’s not a new rule. Nothing’s changed.”

“Thank you, guys, for trying to re-warn or re-scare people on the night they’re looking to go away,” he said.

Pressley said there’s a lot of space in the warehouse and they’re handing out masks and checking temperatures at the door of the event. In an industry hit especially hard by the pandemic, he and his colleagues hope to show you can still get together for a good time safely.

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Halloween Events Altered Or Canceled To Prevent COVID-19 Spread