The City of New Bedford has released its 2020 Halloween guidance -- and parking lot events where parents distribute treats from the back of their vehicles are being strongly discouraged this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Parties or Trunk-or-Treat events are a no-no," states a flyer the New Bedford Health Department distributed this morning. "Stick with small groups (6 or fewer) and stay outdoors."

The Halloween flyer contains three simple tips:

1. Practice social distancing and wear a mask while trick-or-treating.

2. Provide treats without making hand-to-hand contact, and wear a mask. Separate your goodies and place them on an outdoor surface instead of in a bowl.

3. Avoid parties and trunk-or-treat events, limit trick-or-treating groups to six participants or fewer, and stay outdoors.

In addition, all are advised to use hand sanitizer. Children who are feeling sick should stay home, and sick adults are told to refrain from distributing candy.

"Remember, some people will not be celebrating this year," the health department stated. "Respect those who won’t be participating in Halloween this year. If the lights are off or goodies aren’t offered on the porch, head to the next house that’s celebrating Halloween."

The CDC has published a Halloween page to encourage safety during the pandemic, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has issued its own Halloween guidance.

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