CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois released Halloween guidelines Wednesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anyone participating in trick-or-treating should maintain social distance and wear proper face coverings; consider leaving individual candies spaced apart outside; trick-or-treat only with household members and wash hands before eating candy, the state said.
An alternative to traditional trick-or-treating is to set up in a large parking lot or other outdoor setting with tables with individually wrapped candy, where participants with a parent/guardian can parade past while still keeping 6-feet of distance and wearing a face covering. It's suggested to offer reserved time slots to limit everyone showing up at once.
Halloween haunted houses currently are not allowed.
"Avoid crowded costume parties at home or at bars, which can absolutely increase your risk of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to the community," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
Gatherings of more than 50 people or 50% or more of a building's maximum occupancy are prohibited.
Cloth face coverings and social distancing should be enforced and hand sanitizer should be used at pumpkin patches and orchards.
Hayrides should not exceed 50% capacity with parties spaced at least 6 feet apart and face coverings should be worn.
At Siegel's Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill, their 30th Pumpkin Fest is unlike any other.
"You can still have fun. You can still treat it as if it was the years past. You're just going to have to be a little bit farther away from neighbor," said Kaity Siegel-Grimmenga.
In addition to capacity limits, picnic tables and attractions have been spread apart and touchless hand washing stations have been added throughout the farm.
The corn maze is expanded, and you can still pet farm animals, but on the sliding hill instead of all four positions running at the same time they'll be staggered.
"I know everybody's been cooped up inside because there's really not much you can do. We wanted to be able to open up our family farm still but make sure it was safe enough to come out," Siegel-Grimmenga said.
The state also encouraged older Illinoisans to get flu shots.
Gov. JB Pritzker gave Wednesday's COVID-19 update from isolation, after a staff member tested positive for the virus.
Illinois public health officials announced 2,273 new cases of COVID-19 and 35 additional deaths Wednesday.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois now stands at 293,274 with 8,672 deaths, the IDPH reported.
The governor is self-isolating in his home until Oct. 12, but said he does not have the virus. His staff member tested positive on Monday, which is the second time the virus has hit home in Pritzker's office. Another staff member in the governor's office tested positive in May.
"At this point, I and every member of my team who comes into the governor's office tested negative in an office-wide check Monday afternoon," he said.
"I spoke with the staffer who tested positive and they have some symptoms, but are in good condition and resting at home," Pritzker added.
As of Tuesday night, 1,632 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 378 patients in the ICU and 152 on ventilators.
Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 58,546 specimens for a total of 5,624,822. The seven-day positivity rate from Sept. 23 - 29 is 3.6%.
The reported deaths include:
- Bureau County: 1 female 80s
- Carroll County: 1 male 70s
- Champaign County: 1 female 80s
- Cook County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 100+
- DeKalb County: 1 male 90s
- DuPage County: 1 female 80s
- Effingham County: 1 female 70s
- Fayette County: 1 female 70s, 2 females 80
- Greene County: 2 females 70s
- Grundy County: 1 male 80s
- Jackson County: 1 female 60s
- Jersey County: 2 female 90s
- Lake County: 1 male 70s
- Lawrence County: 1 male 70s
- Macon County: 1 female 80s
- Madison County: 2 males 80s
- Peoria County: 1 male 80s
- St. Clair County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
- Tazewell County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
- Will County: 1 female 70s, 2 males 70s
- Williamson County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s
- Woodford County: 1 male 80s