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  • Portsmouth announces Trick-or-Treating hours and COVID-19 safety guidelines

    PORTSMOUTH – Portsmouth City Manager Karen Conard, in conjunction with City Health Director Kim McNamara, Fire Chief Todd Germain and Police Captain Mark Newport announce that Portsmouth children and families will be able to enjoy Halloween trick- or-treating in accordance with the State of NH COVID-19 safety guidelines this year.

    The hours permitted for trick-or-treating will be Saturday, Oct. 31 from 3 to 6 p.m. The schedule for trick-or-treating in Portsmouth is subject to change, based on the COVID-19 infection rates being reported in late October.

    The City Health Officer asks that families not travel town to town or invite friends or family from other towns to come to Portsmouth as that would increase the risk associated with mixing households in close groups. The City’s Emergency Services team also reminds residents that gathering in groups, in indoor settings with reduced air flow, is highly discouraged due to the greater risk of COVID-19 transmission.

    Residents are asked to follow this guidance compiled from advice issued by the State of New Hampshire, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the New Hampshire Municipal Association:

    •         Travel in family groups, only (not with members of other households). Small children should be accompanied and supervised at all times.

    •         Maintain at least a 6-foot distance between people not from the same household.

    •         Wear face coverings (standard Halloween masks are not sufficient as they typically do not cover the mouth).

    •         Bring a small bottle of hand-sanitizer with you and use it often.

    •         Residents who do not want to participate should leave their front houselights turned off or put a sign on the driveway or sidewalk. Trick or treaters should respect that notice.

    •         No direct distribution of treats, please. Children and those providing candy should maintain physical distance.

    •         Distribution points should be cleaned regularly throughout the three hours of trick or treat.

    •         Put treats in individual paper bags, or spread out on trays rather than using a communal bowl and place on a table on the front walk, porch or driveway.

    •         Be creative! Candy slides or tubes? Who will have the best idea for distributing treats?

    Trick or treaters (in small, same-household groups) should use flashlights, walk on sidewalks where available, travel in familiar, well-lit areas, and only go to homes that have outdoor lights on. Phones down, heads up. Be aware of your surroundings.

    Motorists should exercise extra caution on trick or treat night. Although the hours allow for some safer trick or treating in daylight, watch for children walking across the street or at intersections.

    • Enter and exit driveways slowly, keep eyes out for children.

    • After dark, keep eyes out for trick-or-treaters in dark clothing.

    • New or inexperienced drivers should avoid driving after dark on Halloween.

    “We really wanted to make it possible for the children of Portsmouth to enjoy a fun, outdoor celebration of Halloween,” said City Manager Conard. “At the same time, we want to remain vigilant in avoiding unnecessary risks associated with the spread of COVID-19. The basics still apply: wear a mask (a Halloween mask is not enough), watch your distance from others and wash your hands frequently. There is still risk involved, so participating in trick-or-treat activities is totally up to each individual.”​