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Manteca offering at least two alternatives as SJ County issues COVID holiday guidance
safe halloween
A drive thru trick or treating at the Manteca Senor Center will be the substitute for the downtown Safe Halloween this year. Shown is a photo of a 2018 Safe Halloween event.

Not wearing a mask on Halloween in this era of COVID-19 might end up just being the scariest thing you could do.

On Tuesday, the San Joaquin County Health Department embraced state pandemic guidance on how to safely celebrate Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

That means the county “strongly discourages” trick of treating. Suggested alternatives are scary movie nights, online parties, car-based gatherings, or themed meals at time.

City Manager Miranda Lutzow emphasized the city is not making a recommendation one way or another on traditional door-to-door trick or treating but “is encouraging parents to weigh” all of the concerns before deciding what to do.

The city will be staging a free drive-thru trunk or treat on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. It will be in place of the Safe Halloween downtown event that has been staged for more than 20 years.

The Manteca Chamber of Commerce is also working to make sure trick or treating in a modified form can take place this year given COVID-19 rules as outlined by the California Department of Public Health. Just like the Centers for Disease Control, the state agency lists traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door or having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out of cars lined up in large parking lots as high risk Halloween activities.

The chamber is conducting a free drive thru trick or treat in connection with a separate drive thru dinner on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 1463 Moffat Blvd. in the Manteca Commerce Park near the Crossroads Community Church.

Beattie said the chamber is looking for sponsors at $50 apiece to have tables for the event as well as to supply candy for their tables.  The sponsors will receive two dinner tickets.

While there is no charge for those driving through the trick or treat line, there is a $15 charge for dinner that will be distributed from as second line.

The Fagundes catered dinner includes tri-tip, chicken pasta marinara, California mixed vegetables as well as a roll and butter for $15 a ticket.

Both events take place Oct. 29 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Kids are encouraged to be in costume.

Tickets for the dinner can be purchased at –tickets-118377001799.

Rules now allow up to three

households to socialize outdoors

San Joaquin County on Tuesday also adopted new state guidance on outdoor social gatherings.

Under the new requirements regarding private gatherings, up to three households, can gather outside so long as they wear masks and follow other safety precautions. Gatherings can be under awnings, roofs, or shade structures so long as at least three sides are open to outdoor breezes. Gatherings should be two hours or less to reduce the risk of transmission.

Guests who are not from the same household must wear masks when not eating or drinking, maintain social distancing, and food cannot be shared. Hand sanitizer or a place to wash hands must be available. Gathering organizers should keep track of who attended so they can notify them in case of an infection.

The more people from different households interact, the closer the physical interaction is, and the longer the interaction lasts, the higher the risk that a person with COVID-19 infection – symptomatic or asymptomatic — may spread it to others. Participating in multiple gatherings with different households or groups is strongly discouraged. People who are sick or medically vulnerable should not attend public gatherings of any size. Any one that experiences COVID-19 like symptoms within 48 hours of a gathering should notify the organizer and others who attended.

San Joaquin County officials cannot be at every gathering, so residents are trusted to take every possible precaution to keep themselves and our community safe from COVID-19. The more individuals choose to protect others, the sooner that the County can move into a less restrictive tier and can continue to open more businesses and allow more activities. If anyone has questions about the new guidance, or believes someone is violating the Health Order visit

Current San Joaquin

COVID-19 data

Pursuant to the State’s Blueprint for reopening and current COVID-19 data, San Joaquin County is currently in the Red Tier (Substantial). The current case rate is 6.6, and the positivity rate is 4.1%. The positivity rate for the Equity Metric is 7.4%.

You can help the County move into a less restrictive tier by following the Health Orders and guidelines, wearing a mask when in public, washing your hands regularly, practicing physical distancing, getting tested, and limiting mixing with people outside your household. Free testing is still available at many locations in San Joaquin County. To find testing locations or to schedule appointments, utilize the links at

Postings on the San Joaquin County COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday as 10:45 a.m. show 794 persons out of 776,000 San Joaquin County residents are currently positive with the virus although they are not necessarily sick. That is the number once you subtract the 19,793 people that health officials have determined to have recovered from the 21,064 cases since March

Many of the recovered may never have been ill. The mask order and social distancing is designed to protect people from those who may not know they are carrying the virus and who may never show symptoms.

There were 61 new cases on Tuesday

There have been 477 deaths in San Joaquin County. Of those, 11.5 percent did not have pre-existing conditions such as asthma, obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, or diabetes

There were 27 COVID-19 patients countywide as of Tuesday with 6 using ICU beds.

There were two COVID-19 patients at Doctors Hospital of Manteca with one in ICU and only three non-ICU patient at Kaiser Manteca Hospital.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email