Wondering if you can still host a fall festival, trunk-or-treat, or similar event this year? It depends on where you live, as well as how much risk you’re willing to assume. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you assess the current COVID-19 levels in your community before making that call. (The Harvard Global Health Institute offers real-time updates on its Risk Levels Dashboard.)
If local health officials allow gatherings amid COVID-19, offering low-risk activities that follow CDC recommendations may give your community a small taste of “normal.” With some creativity, your church or school may be able to modify one or more of its autumn traditions.
Many fall traditions, such as hayrides, trick-or-treating, and trunk-or-treat events, are being discouraged this year by the CDC. It says people should avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. It also offers alternatives that reduce the risk. The lowest risk activities involve staying at home. View the CDC’s guidance on holiday celebrations.
If your ministry decides to host an event this fall, despite the risk, it’s important to take precautions designed to limit the possible spread of disease.
For starters, limit the number of people who can attend your event, based on recommendations set by your local health department. One way might be to require advance registration and give people assigned arrival times. This could make it easier to control the flow of attendees, plus provide a list if contract tracing becomes necessary.
Next, require everyone to wear protective face coverings. A costume mask should not replace a protective mask.
Finally, take additional measures to lower the risk of infection by hosting an outdoor event with appropriate social distancing and sanitation. See the CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings.
Here’s how you might modify a trunk-or-treat event.
The idea is to decorate the trunks of various vehicles and distribute candy in a personalized and fun way. Children can go car to car, gather candy, and enjoy the themes and decorations. Trunk-or-treats may be done, day or night, and they offer an alternative to kids walking through neighborhoods, knocking on stranger’s doors. They also offer an opportunity to reach out to the community with the Gospel and a positive message about your church or school.
Much like the drive-in worship services some churches offered this year, it’s important to provide adequate space between cars. This can be done by staggering occupied spaces in a parking lot or by making sure vehicles are at least six feet apart.
You’ll want to clearly designate and secure separate areas for the following:
To prevent accidents that can happen when children mix with cars:
Many volunteers will be necessary for the event to proceed smoothly. Consider how many you will need to do the following:
Once you have taken the time to manage all of the potential risks you can identify, consider incorporating some of these ideas to ramp up the “fun” factor.
Posted September 24, 2020
The information provided in this article is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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