New York Could Reportedly Ban Tricking or Treating Statewide, Will New Jersey Be Next?
New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly plans to ban trick or treating in New York State via executive order later this month, our sister stations in Utica, NY tell us. So will New Jersey be next?
According to the Niagara Reporter, a "high-ranking Democratic lawmaker" says the Governor "plans to cancel trick-or-treating across the state at the end of September or first week of October." The source says the Governor would use "any new development" to instigate such a move.
To be clear: this news has NOT been confirmed by the governor's office or any other source at this point, but it certainly seems plausible given how hard the state was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic this spring.
So will a similar measure come to New Jersey? Well, Governor Murphy says trick or treating is still on... for now.
“As far as this moment in time, Halloween’s still on in New Jersey,” he told a reporter for NJ.com last week. “We’re gonna have to do things very carefully. I’m sure we’re gonna have protocols that we’ll come to. And God willing, the virus stays under control.”
If you read that statement, you'll see there is certainly some wiggle room. In fact, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey has largely acted in sync with New York's decisions. Both states were hit extremely hard by the virus early on and there's a LOT of cross travel between the two states so it has made sense.
Nobody truly knows if the virus is under control. Will numbers skyrocket between now and the end of October, and if they do, what will the state's response be?
So having said that, if I was a parent, I would start preparing my kids for the possibility that trick or treating may not happen in New Jersey this fall. By the way, my opinion here is not political in nature, at all.
I've been paying close attention to the governor's coronavirus press conferences (for work) and having listened almost daily to the words coming out of his mouth, I believe that Governor Murphy's words were intentionally vague. If COVID-19 case numbers or the rate of spread concern him later this month/early October, I think he COULD cancel Halloween by executive order.
It's happening elsewhere:
A few weeks ago, Los Angeles County in California had issued an order effectively outlawing Halloween but then they reversed course. Now they simply are advising against activities such a trick or treating. Though the exact nature of that changes each day.
Yes, I've seen the arguments that Halloween is already a "masked" holiday, so what's the risk? I'm not a scientist to weigh in on the risks associated with trick or treating, as they pertain to COVID-19, but a holiday with crowds on the street and people sharing bowls of candy certainly seems like a hotbed for a communicable disease to me.
But who knows? After all, this is the first Halloween in my lifetime that falls during a global pandemic. So who knows what's right or wrong?
But I tend to assume that officials will err on the side of extreme caution regarding Halloween 2020, so we can come together to safely celebrate holidays in the days and years to come.
Bottom line: I'd prepare to not be trick or treating this year.