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Guest Opinion: City should ban Halloween events in light of ongoing pandemic

By David Warren–
Halloween, or All-Hollows-Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day which begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide. It is the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.

Halloween door-to-door trick-or-treating among neighbors and friends, or for those who substitute some other event because they find the idea of celebrating Halloween objectionable because of its “demonic” basis, fail to recognize the greater danger due to COVID-19 than tainted candy, child molesters or emotional harm to children.

Which adult would provide a loaded gun to a child and allow them to roam their neighborhoods? Can you imagine someone being willing to kill their neighbor solely to provide children with candy? Yet, irresponsible adults are doing just that.

At a recent Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce meeting to discuss Measure M, the proponents proffered one reason for the measure was to ensure public safety. Everyone wants to be secure in their homes and businesses regardless of political affiliation. Then why in the face of an obvious threat of COVID-19 to public safety does the City Council refuse to act proactively?

We no longer live in normal times because we have to weigh the risk of contracting COVID-19 against venturing out of our homes.

Some schools, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, require at home or some hybrid form of classroom learning. Government meetings, including the City Council, occur without allowing the public to attend to protect elected individuals. Yet, councilmembers refuse to offer the same protection to residents by preventing door-to-door transmission of COVID-19.

Councilmembers should explain to the public the double standard of protection from COVID-19 infection they apply to themselves at meetings, and the different one to the rest of us.

The COVID-19 pandemic provides every parent, grandparent and responsible adult with the opportunity to teach every child, no matter their age, the real meaning of patriotism by using Halloween to answer the question: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country?”

Although denying children unlimited access to candy may initially make a parent feel they are the “Grinch that stole Christmas,” the life lesson taught is responsibility for others and that we do not live in a world in which we are all entitled to do what we want. As adults, shouldn’t we teach by example rather than empty words? Isn’t this what we want to teach our children?

Just as it is shameful some church leaders in our community have forgotten not only their civic responsibilities and the word as set forth in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” adults should be ashamed when they allow children to go door-to-door with the attendant risk of spreading COVID-19 to neighbors and other children.

What is worse is that the city has no plan to ensure the safety of the community, and most importantly, the most vulnerable, our children, the elderly and individuals who are more susceptible to infection, by banning Halloween events, whether they be private parties, community events, or door-to-door trick-or-treating.

Twelve children, including one only eight months old, were recently infected with COVID-19 in a child care facility and spread it outside the facility to at least 12 other people. The Center for Disease Control has issued an advisory warning against trick-or-treating, including home-based parties. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association have reported 500,000 children have been diagnosed with coronavirus, a 16% increase between Aug. 20 and September 3. Do we want the same to happen here?

When individuals stood up to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt, they were vilified. Today, they are heroes.

Dr. Aimee Sisson, M.D., who rather than capitulating to political pressure concerning COVID-19 in Placer County, demonstrated her courage by resigning her position in the face of political obliviousness to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To each parent and Citrus Heights government official, do you want to be the hero who saves the lives of members of our community by banning the public celebration of Halloween this year, or do you want to risk the same potential infections projected after the Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota to occur in Citrus Heights?

Supervisor Frost stated in her recent guest column, “Even cities like Citrus Heights cannot resume operating their businesses until the entire county has met the state’s standards, making it more critical that we all pull together in advancing COVID-19 solution efforts.” Willful failure to act will delay the full reopening of all businesses in Citrus Heights.

To assure that “we all pull together,” do our municipal leaders, elected or staff, have the intestinal fortitude to take the long-term view to stop the spread of COVID-19 to ensure that we can return to normal? Or will they adopt the short-term easy out which may allow the risk of a mass infection spread event?

David Warren

Although the COVID-19 positivity rates have recently declined in Sacramento County, nationally the Center for Disease Control reports an uptick. The adults in our community should have the intestinal fortitude to make the difficult choice to protect Citrus Heights from the most dangerous concealed dangerous weapon on our streets: COVID-19. In November, no one should say “I told you so.”

David Warren is a legislative advocate at the State Capitol with Taxpayers for Public Safety, and can be reached at David@forpublicsafety.com.

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