(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Arlington County is asking those planning on partying or gathering in large crowds on Halloween to reconsider their plans.
“With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, many partygoers may be looking to celebrate in popular nightlife destinations around Arlington, but events that involve large gatherings of individuals can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission and are not recommended,” the county said in a press release on Friday.
“Partygoers are encouraged to seek alternatives ways to celebrate a physically distanced Halloween or sit this year out.”
Although there have been reports about a “sold out” Halloween bar crawl in Arlington, the county says it “has not approved any pub crawls or large events for Halloween weekend.”
The refusal to approve permits for large Halloween events is “part of the County’s effort to mitigate the evening crowds for this traditionally busy holiday and to protect the health and well-being of our community,” the press release said.
There will, however, be extra police patrols in Clarendon and Crystal City on Saturday night.
“The Arlington Police Department will have a dedicated nightlife detail of officers assigned to Clarendon and 23rd Street in Crystal City on Halloween night to ensure the safety of businesses and patrons,” the county said.
Family-friendly activities may be curtailed this year, as well. Last month Arlington’s health director cautioned against in-person trick-or-treating, though the county does not plan to regulate any such activity. Nearly half of respondents to a recent ARLnow poll said they do not plan to offer candy to trick-or-treaters this year.
The press release offered more coronavirus safety tips for Halloween revelers, as well as a reminder of safety requirements for restaurants:
To protect against COVID-19, everyone should avoid close contact with people who do not live in their household, wear a mask (cloth face covering), and practice social distancing and frequent and proper hand washing. We implore all Arlingtonians to continue to abide by this public health guidance. In general, the more closely people interact with each other and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
The Arlington Public Health Division will continue to educate and strictly enforce Virginia’s Phase 3 Guidelines for restaurant and beverage services. Restaurants and dining establishments must comply with the Governor’s guidelines, including:
- Post signage at the entrance and at points of sale stating that patrons must wear a cloth face covering, except while eating and drinking, in accordance with Executive Order 63.
- Tables at which dining parties are seated must be positioned six feet apart from other tables.
- Employees working in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.
- Bar seats and congregating areas of restaurants must be closed to patrons except for through-traffic, per Executive Order 67.
- If live musicians are performing at an establishment, they must remain at least ten feet from patrons and staff. Karaoke must remain closed.