With September in full swing, families across the country may consider taking part in some fall activities like pumpkin picking or trunk-or-treat events. But how safe are these activities during the pandemic?
Many businesses are doing their best to create safe, socially distanced and fun activities for families this fall.
Benton Family Farms in Kentucky is encouraging people to still come out and grab a pumpkin this year.
"We probably have the best crop you could ever imagine," says Mary Marcum.
Marcum's family has owned Benton Family Farms for more than 70 years. The pandemic has hit her family's nonprofit business extremely hard, but they're still committed to bringing some fun events to people in the autumn months.
"We’re actually having a craft show this weekend. I took that opportunity because all of the high schools were shut down, they couldn’t have their normal [craft exhibit]. Crafting is a big thing here," says Marcum.
Dr. Kenny Banh is an emergency physician and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education at UCSF-Fresno. Dr. Banh says certain outdoor events could be safe for families this fall.
"I think all outdoor activities, if done properly, can be done safely, and that includes pumpkin patches and stuff like that," says Dr. Banh.
He says following local and state ordinances is key. Also, don't assume that just because an event is happening, that all safety precautions are being taken to protect people from spreading COVID-19.
"Make sure you’re aware of the difference between [the business being] open, we should do this to what you should be doing. I think the responsible thing is to not say, ‘No it's not ok but go in.’ Understand that this is what I should be looking for. Are we able to stay social distant while we’re at the event? A red flag would be, oh gosh, we’re doing a hay ride and we’re all stacked right next to each other doing a hay ride. Then they're probably not adhering to guidelines," says Dr. Banh.
Dr. Banh says trunk-or-treat events that could have close contact without masks is likely a bad idea. Dr. Banh says many people have quarantine fatigue and are still wanting to get out and about. Just make sure that while you're looking to bring some pumpkin spice into your life this fall, that it doesn't come at a cost to your health and safety.