CA Officials: Resist Temptation to Gather Indoors Despite Wildfire Smoke


California state health officials worry that with wildfire smoke cooping everyone up indoors, people will be tempted to gather in numbers that are unsafe during the coronavirus pandemic.

They also announced that trick-or-treating might not be a part of kids’ Halloween this year, saying they acknowledge the additional layer of difficulties Californians are facing right now because of all the wildfires and the smoke from them.

While there was no brief from Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday, acting State Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan of Oakland announced that the state is now getting 90 percent of test results back within two days, which is a dramatic improvement. 

In her online news conference, Pan said she knows it’s tough when we can’t spend much time outdoors right now, but that it’s best to resist the temptation to get together indoors with people outside your family or social bubble.

“This is not a time to let our guard down,” she said. “We, of course, are in the midst of many difficult situations here in the state and again with the poor air quality, but this is not a reason to gather indoors.”

State Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said with the Jewish high holidays a week away and Halloween just around the corner, we should get ready to do things on a limited, much smaller scale, which may mean no trick-or-treating at all.

“I think there’s no doubt that we’re going to have a very different holiday season,” he said. “And preparing our communities, being thoughtful about the recommendations, being cognizant of the level of transmission are all things that we need to have in place.”

Dr. Ghaly said the state is still working on consistent and thoughtful guidelines for how to observe Halloween safely.